The actor also shared what it would take for him to do a Joker sequel.
Joaquin Phoenix put on a happy face at the Golden Globes on Sunday, taking home the Best Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama trophy for his performance as Arthur Fleck, the man who becomes the titular villain in Joker.
In a lengthy (and repeatedly censored on-air) acceptance speech, Phoenix paid tribute to his fellow nominees — “I’m your f—ing student… Personally, some, I’m still too intimidated by you, even though we share the same agent” — Joker director Todd Phillips, and fiancee Rooney Mara, and called on Hollywood stars to make changes to their lavish lifestyles.
“It’s really nice that so many people came up and sent their well-wishes to Australia,” Phoenix said, in reference to the ongoing fires that several celebrities acknowledged during the ceremony. “It’s such a beautiful gesture, but it’s not enough….It’s great to vote, but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives. We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs and back.”
Despite a mixed response to the film itself, critics were mostly united in their praise for Phoenix, who portrayed the character as a mentally ill outcast spurred to violence by the way society mistreats him. The film rode a wave of controversy to massive success at the box office, becoming the first R-rated film to gross over $1 billion.
This was Phoenix’s second Golden Globe win; he previously won the Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy award for his portrayal of Johnny Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line. He also earned a nomination for 2000’s Gladiator, and three consecutive nods for The Master, Her, and Inherent Vice from 2013 to 2015. Joker also took home the trophy for Best Original Score, with composer Hildur Guðnadóttir becoming the first solo woman ever to win the award.
In the press room after his win, Phoenix was asked about the possibility of doing a Joker sequel. “I don’t think that I’ve ever done too many predictable things,” the actor said. “So, if that came up, it’s not because we’re following some rule book. It’s because we feel inspired again to explore the character more thoroughly. That’d be the only reason for me to do it.”