Will the Academy snub Joaquin Phoenix?
When the nominees for the Academy Award for Best Actor are announced next month, it will mark the end to a hard fought battle, and this is a fact, one of the boldest and most creative performances of the last twenty years could very well be on the outside looking in.
The snub of Joaquin Phoenix by the Screen Actors Guild for his galvanizing performance in The Master was truly startling because one would hope actors would recognize the risk he took in that piece of acting, the boldness of the execution of what he attempted, and the genius in making it work. Phoenix walked a fine line between great acting and great overacting, never stepping into the latter, always managing to remain solid.
His comments about the Oscars a short while ago have not endeared him to those who do the nominating, and I wonder if more than a few actors and artists are still feeling stung over his leaving acting to become a rapper and then making a documentary supposedly about that very thing. Well, the joke was on us.
Actors take their work very seriously, they take their craft as seriously as the Pope practices religion. Phoenix actually gave a very good performance in that documentary for his friend Casey Affleck, portraying an angry Phoenix walking away from acting and into the music industry where he is not embraced at once. We got to see a variation of the real Phoenix, a sometimes strange actor who is often beyond explanation, yet undeniably gifted.
His performance for Paul Thomas Anderson as Freddie Quell in The Master was extraordinary, mesmerizing to watch, a masterpiece of physicality and deep emotion that was exciting in its boldness and courage.
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