Biography of Joaquin Phoenix
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Phoenix at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival in 2018
Joaquin Rafael Bottom
(1974-10-28) October 28, 1974 (age 46)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Other names||Leaf Phoenix|
|Partner(s)||Rooney Mara (2016–present; engaged)|
|Relatives||River Phoenix (brother)|
Rain Phoenix (sister)
Liberty Phoenix (sister)
Summer Phoenix (sister)
Joaquin Rafael Phoenix[a] (/hwɑːˈkiːn/; né Bottom; born October 28, 1974) is an American actor, environmentalist, animal rights activist, and producer. He has received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and two Golden Globe Awards. In 2020, he was ranked #12 on the list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century by The New York Times.
As a child, Phoenix started acting in television with his brother River and sister Summer. His first major film role was in SpaceCamp (1986). During that period, he was credited as Leaf Phoenix, a name he gave himself. He later went back to his original name and received positive reviews for his supporting work in the comedy-drama film To Die For (1995) and the period film Quills (2000). He received wider attention for his portrayal of Commodus in the historical drama film Gladiator (2000), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He subsequently earned Best Actor nominations for portraying musician Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005) and an alcoholic war veteran in The Master (2012), and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the title character in Joker (2019). His other films include the horror films Signs (2002) and The Village (2004), the historical drama Hotel Rwanda (2004), the romantic drama Her (2013), the crime satire Inherent Vice (2014), and the psychological thriller You Were Never Really Here (2017), for which he won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor.
Phoenix has also ventured into directing music videos, as well as producing films and television shows. For recording the soundtrack to Walk the Line, he won the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. He is a social activist and has lent his support to several charities and humanitarian organizations. He is on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides daily meals to school students in the South African town of Soweto. He is also known for his animal rights advocacy; he has been a vegan since the age of three and often campaigns with PETA and In Defense of Animals.
Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom in the Río Piedras district of San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 28, 1974, the son of American parents from the U.S. mainland. He is the third of five children, following River (1970–1993) and Rain (born 1972), and preceding Liberty (born 1976) and Summer (born 1978), all of whom are actors. He also has a half-sister named Jodean (born 1964) from his father's previous relationship. He was born with a mark on his lip, which he claims is not a cleft lip. His father, John Lee Bottom, is originally from California and is of mostly English descent with some German and French ancestry. His mother, Arlyn (née Dunetz), was born in New York City to Ashkenazi Jewish parents, whose families were from Hungary and Russia.
Arlyn moved to California, meeting Phoenix's father while hitchhiking. They married in 1969; years later, they joined a religious cult called the Children of God and began traveling throughout South America and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, where Phoenix was born. They eventually became disenchanted with the cult and decided to leave the group, returning to the U.S. in 1977 when Phoenix was three years old. They changed their last name to Phoenix, after the mythical bird that rises from its own ashes, symbolizing a new beginning. Phoenix began calling himself "Leaf" around this time, having been inspired by spending time outdoors raking leaves and desiring to have a nature-related name like his siblings. This became the name he used as a child actor, until he changed it back to Joaquin at age 15.
In order to provide food and financial support for the family, the Phoenix children performed at various talent contests, singing and playing instruments. In Los Angeles, his mother started working as an executive secretary for NBC, and his father worked as a landscape architect. Phoenix and his siblings were eventually discovered by one of Hollywood's leading children's agents, Iris Burton, who got the five children acting work, mainly doing commercials and television show appearances. At the age of eight, Joaquin made his acting debut alongside his brother River in the television series Seven Brides for Seven Brothers in the 1982 episode "Christmas Song". In his first major role, Phoenix co-starred opposite River in the ABC Afterschool Special entitled Backwards: The Riddle of Dyslexia (1984). Also in 1984, Phoenix made guest appearances in the Murder, She Wrote episode "We're Off to Kill the Wizard" with his sister Summer, and individual episodes of The Fall Guy and Hill Street Blues.
After appearing in the CBS television film Kids Don't Tell (1985), Phoenix made his theatrical film debut in SpaceCamp (1986) as Max, a 12-year-old who goes to Kennedy Space Center to learn about the NASA space program and undergoes amateur astronaut training. He guest starred in the anthology series Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "A Very Happy Ending" in the same year, playing a child who blackmails a hitman (played by Robert Loggia) into killing his father (John Aprea). Phoenix's first starring role was in Russkies (1987), about a group of friends who unknowingly befriend a Russian soldier during the Cold War. Phoenix then appeared in Ron Howard's comedy-drama Parenthood (1989), in which he played the withdrawn teenage nephew of Steve Martin's character. The film was well received by critics and grossed $126 million worldwide. Phoenix was nominated for the Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor in a Feature Film for his performance in the film. After establishing himself as a child actor, Joaquin decided to retire from acting for a while and traveled to Mexico and South America with his father.
On October 31, 1993, three days after Joaquin's 19th birthday, his older brother River died of an overdose outside The Viper Room. Phoenix, who had accompanied his brother and older sister Rain to the club, called 911 to seek help for his dying brother. After River's death, the phone call was repeatedly broadcast on TV and radio shows. As a result of the media glare, his family retreated from the public.
1995–1999: Return to acting
Following the comeback of his acting career, Phoenix was often cast in supporting roles as conflicted, insecure characters with a dark side. In 1995, he co-starred in To Die For, as a disturbed young man who is seduced by a woman (Nicole Kidman) to commit murder. Directed by Gus Van Sant, the film was screened out of competition at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival and became a financial and critical success, resulting in a domestic box office total of $21 million. New York Times critic Janet Maslin praised Phoenix's performance, writing "So pity poor Jimmy. Rivetingly played by Mr Phoenix with a raw, anguished expressiveness that makes him an actor to watch for, Jimmy is both tempted and terrified by Suzanne's slick amorality. In that, he speaks for us all."
In 1997, Phoenix played a small-town troublemaker in Oliver Stone's U Turn, and a poor man in love with a rich woman in Inventing the Abbotts. The films were received with mostly mixed and negative reviews, respectively, and neither performed well at the box office.
The following year, Phoenix starred in Clay Pigeons (1998) as a young man in a small town who befriends a serial killer. Budgeted at $8 million, the film became a box office flop, grossing only $1 million and was, like Phoenix's previous projects, not well received by critics.
In his next film, 8mm (1999), Phoenix co-starred as an adult video store employee who helps Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) investigate the underworld of illegal pornography. The film turned out to be a box office success, grossing $96 million worldwide, but found few admirers among critics.
2000–2005: Critical acclaim and commercial success
Phoenix in Cannes for The Yards in May 2000
In 2000, Phoenix co-starred in three films. He made his first collaboration with director James Gray in The Yards. The film follows the corruption in the rail yards of Queens. Although failing to perform at the box office, The Yards was received with positive reviews. That same year, Phoenix played a fictionalized version of Roman Emperor Commodus in the historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott. The film was a massive financial and critical success, becoming one of the highest earning films of 2000, with a worldwide box office gross of $457 million and received universal critical praise. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture. For his performance, which the critic Lisa Schwarzbaum described as "deliciously creepy perversity", Phoenix was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role and received his first nomination for the Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actor. He and late brother River Phoenix became the first brothers to be nominated for acting Academy Awards. To date they are the only brothers to hold this distinction.
Joaquin Phoenix later portrayed the conflicted priest Abbé de Coulmier in Quills. Inspired by the life and work of the Marquis de Sade, the film premiered in the United States at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2000, and was a modest art house success grossing a total of $17 million at the box office. It was received with critical praise, eventually receiving three Academy Award nominations at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards and The National Board of Review selected the film as its Best Film of 2000. For his combined roles, Phoenix won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor and the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The following year, Phoenix starred in the satirical film Buffalo Soldiers (2001) as a U.S. Army soldier. The world premiere was held at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival in early September. However, because the film was a satire of the US military, its wider theatrical run was delayed by approximately two years because of the September 11 attacks; it was finally released on July 25, 2003. Although the film was a box office flop, it was received with mostly positive reviews. Film critic Roger Ebert praised Phoenix for his "spot-on performance". Phoenix was nominated for the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor.
Phoenix also starred in M. Night Shyamalan's science fiction thriller Signs (2002). Phoenix plays Merrill Hess, a former Minor League baseball player who, along with his older brother Graham (Mel Gibson), discovers that Earth has been invaded by extraterrestrials. The film was a massive financial success, grossing $408 million on its $72 million budget, and was received with positive reviews. Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers praised Phoenix's performance, writing "Phoenix registers impressively, finding the humor and the pain in this lost boy".
In 2003, Phoenix played the irresolute husband of a superstar-skater in It's All About Love, and voiced Kenai in the Disney animated film, Brother Bear. The film grossed $250 million worldwide and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. He was replaced by Patrick Dempsey in the sequel Brother Bear 2.
In 2004, Phoenix paired with Shyamalan again, playing a lovestruck farmer in The Village. It received mixed reviews but was a financial success, grossing $256 million worldwide on its $60 million budget. For his second film that year, Phoenix starred in the drama film Ladder 49 as a Baltimore firefighter. The film earned $102 million at the box office despite receiving generally mixed reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, praising the performances in the film. Phoenix's final film of 2004 was Terry George's Hotel Rwanda, playing photographer Jack Daglish. The film was a moderate financial success but was a critical success, receiving almost exclusively positive reviews from critics. For his performance in the film, Phoenix was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture along with the cast.
Phoenix being interviewed at the premiere of Walk the Line in 2005
In 2005, Phoenix starred in the James Mangold directed film Walk the Line, a Johnny Cash biopic, after Cash himself approved of Phoenix. All of Cash's vocal tracks in the film and on the accompanying soundtrack are played and sung by Phoenix. Roger Love was his vocal coach on this film. The film was released on November 18, 2005, eventually grossing $186 million. Phoenix's performance received rave reviews from critics and it inspired film critic Roger Ebert to write, "Knowing Johnny Cash's albums more or less by heart, I closed my eyes to focus on the soundtrack and decided that, yes, that was the voice of Johnny Cash I was listening to. The closing credits make it clear it's Joaquin Phoenix doing the singing, and I was gob-smacked". For his portrayal of Johnny Cash, Phoenix was nominated for his second Academy Award, in the category of Best Actor as well as the BAFTA Award for Best Actor, Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media for the film's soundtrack. Earlier that year, he narrated Earthlings (2005), a documentary about the investigation of animal abuse in factory farms, and pet mills, and for scientific research. He was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Film Festival in 2005, for his work and contribution to Earthlings.
2006–2010: Producing and self-imposed break
In 2006, Phoenix was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2007, Phoenix reunited with director James Gray for the film We Own the Night, which he also produced. In the film, Phoenix played a New York nightclub manager who tries to save his brother and father from Russian mafia hit men. The film premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, receiving mixed reviews from critics and grossed a total of $54.5 million worldwide. Critic Peter Travers described Phoenix as "electrifying and then some", and he was awarded the People's Choice Award for Favorite Leading Man for the performance. For his second film of 2007, Phoenix also reunited with director Terry George for the film Reservation Road. In it, Phoenix played a father obsessed with finding out who killed his son in a hit-and-run accident. The film failed at the box office and received negative reviews from critics, with film critic Peter Travers writing "Even the best actors – and I'd rank Joaquin Phoenix and Mark Ruffalo among their generation's finest – can't save a movie that aims for tragedy but stalls at soap opera."
Phoenix made his third collaboration with director James Gray in the film Two Lovers (2008), where he played a bachelor torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor. Two Lovers premiered in competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in May, receiving largely positive reviews, especially Phoenix who was praised by film critics David Edelstein who wrote "He [Phoenix] is, once again, stupendous, and stupendous in a way he has never been before" and Roger Ebert describing his performance as "perfect pitch". Two Lovers grossed $16 million worldwide.
Phoenix's mockumentary film I'm Still Here (2010) premiered at the 67th Venice International Film Festival on September 6, 2010. The film was directed by Phoenix's then brother-in-law Casey Affleck and was also written by Affleck and Phoenix himself. The film purports to follow the life of Phoenix, from the announcement of his retirement from acting, through his transition into a career as a hip hop artist. Filming officially began on January 16, 2009 at a Las Vegas nightclub. Throughout the filming period, Phoenix remained in character for public appearances, giving many the impression that he was genuinely pursuing a new career. Although widely suspected to be a "mockumentary," the fact that the events of the film had been deliberately staged was not disclosed until after the film had been released. The film received mixed reviews and failed at the box office.
2012–2018: Comeback and further acclaim
In 2011, it was announced that Phoenix would star in Paul Thomas Anderson's drama film The Master (2012). Phoenix played Freddie Quell, a sex-obsessed alcoholic World War II veteran struggling to adjust to a post-war society. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival where Phoenix won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor. The art house film only grossed $28 million but was received with universal critical acclaim, with the acting performances receiving high praise, especially Phoenix's. Peter Travers of the Rolling Stone gave Phoenix high praise stating "Joaquin Phoenix in the performance of his career. Phoenix wears the role like a second skin; he's a volcano in full eruption. You can't take your eyes off him." His performance was publicly lauded by fellow actors Daniel Day-Lewis, Jessica Chastain and Robert Duvall. Phoenix received his third Academy Award nomination, his second for Best Actor, as well as nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama and BAFTA Award for Best Actor.
The cast of Her at the New York Film Festival in 2013
In 2013, Phoenix starred in romantic science-fiction drama film Her directed by Spike Jonze. In it, Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an intelligent computer operating system personified through a female voice. It had its premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 12, 2013. Her had a worldwide gross of $47 million and received widespread critical acclaim, along with Phoenix's performance. Film critics Manohla Dargis and David Edelstein agreed that no other actor could have done the role but Phoenix, stating "Her is even harder to imagine without Mr. Phoenix, an actor who excels at exquisite isolation" and "It's hard to imagine someone more affecting than Phoenix in the role" respectively, and Phoenix received his fourth nomination for the Golden Globe Award. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Also in 2013, Phoenix collaborated with director James Gray for the fourth time in the drama film The Immigrant. He starred as Bruno Weiss, a pimp who prostitutes Polish immigrant Ewa (Marion Cotillard) and ends up falling for her. It was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival as well as at the 2013 New York Film Festival. The film was released in the United States on May 16, 2014. The Immigrant was not successful at the box office but received positive reviews from critics.
In 2014, Phoenix reunited with Paul Thomas Anderson for the crime comedy-drama film Inherent Vice, the first adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon book. Phoenix played Doc Sportello, a private investigator and hippie/dope head trying to help his ex-girlfriend solve a crime. Inherent Vice premiered as the centerpiece at the New York Film Festival on October 4, 2014 and went nationwide on January 9, 2015. It was met with mostly positive reviews with many critics praising the film for its acting performances, while some were frustrated by its complicated plot, however it only grossed $11.1 million at the box office. Phoenix was nominated for his fifth Golden Globe Award for his performance.
Phoenix starred in the 2015 mystery comedy-drama Irrational Man. Directed by Woody Allen, the film was screened out of competition at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, received mixed to positive reviews, and began a theatrical release on July 17, 2015. Phoenix narrated his second documentary for Nation Earth about animal rights called Unity (2015). It was released on August 12, 2015.
Gus Van Sant and Joaquin Phoenix at the press conference of Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot at Berlinale 2018
Phoenix starred in four movies released in 2018: In the first, Phoenix portrayed Jesus in Mary Magdalene, written by Helen Edmundson and directed by Garth Davis, opposite Rooney Mara. It was released in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2018 to mixed reviews. The film's original distributor has been the cause of the film's delayed U.S. release. Later, Phoenix starred as Joe, a former FBI agent and Gulf War veteran suffering from PTSD, in the Amazon Studios thriller You Were Never Really Here (2017), written and directed by Lynne Ramsay. The film premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, where it received wide critical acclaim, and won Phoenix the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor. The film began its US release on April 6, 2018. Many critics agreed the performance is one of Phoenix' best to date, with Justin Chang of the Los Angeles Times describing it as "the most rivetingly contained" work of his career. In his third feature of the year, Phoenix portrayed quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan in his second feature with director Gus Van Sant, the biopic Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot. The film was released on July 13, 2018 and Phoenix's lead performance received critical acclaim. His last film role of 2018 was as Charlie Sisters in Jacques Audiard's English-language debut, an adaptation of Patrick deWitt's historical novel, The Sisters Brothers. The film was released on September 21, 2018. This same year, he also collaborated with Rooney Mara, Sia, Sadie Sink and Kat von D to narrate Chris Delforce's animal rights documentary Dominion. For his contribution to the documentary, he was granted the 2018 Award of Excellence for Narration by Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.
2019–present: Joker and beyond
In 2019, Phoenix starred as the iconic DC Comics character The Joker in Todd Phillips's neo-noir psychological thriller Joker. The film premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion, with Phoenix's performance garnering widespread acclaim. Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote, "Phoenix is astonishing as a mentally ill geek who becomes the killer-clown Joker in Todd Phillips' neo-Taxi Driver knockout: the rare comic-book movie that expresses what's happening in the real world." The film was theatrically released in the United States on October 4, 2019, and became a box office success, grossing over $1 billion, making it the first R-rated film to pass the billion-dollar mark at the worldwide box office. His performance was lauded by fellow actors Kathy Bates and Jessica Chastain, among others. Phoenix received his first Academy Award, his fourth Academy Award nomination, his third in the Best Actor category and won his first BAFTA award in the category Best Actor in a Leading Role, won his second Golden Globe in the category Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama, his second Critics Choice Award in the category Best Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.
In 2020, Phoenix served as an executive producer on Gunda directed by Viktor Kossakovsky, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. That same year, Phoenix was named on the list of the 25 Greatest Actors of the 21st Century by The New York Times. The list was written by famed critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott and Phoenix's paragraph was written by his frequent collaborator, director James Gray.
Phoenix is set to star in Mike Mills' next film C'mon C'mon, which will be produced and distributed by A24. The film was shot in the fall of 2019 and early 2020. In October 2020, Phoenix was cast as Napoleon Bonaparte in Ridley Scott's upcoming film Kitbag, which will be produced and distributed by 20th Century Studios.
He has directed music videos for Ringside, She Wants Revenge, People in Planes, Arckid, Albert Hammond Jr., and Silversun Pickups.
Phoenix served as one of the executive producers of a television show called 4Real, a half-hour series which showcase celebrity guests on global adventures "in order to connect with young leaders who are creating social and economic change". He is also listed as a producer on the movie We Own the Night. In music, he was said to have produced the opening track for Pusha T's My Name Is My Name album alongside Kanye West. The track is called "King Push". Phoenix then denied in a statement to XXL having produced the record, saying, "While it was widely reported that Pusha T used my beat and that I produced his song, I can't take any credit. A friend's son played me his music, and all I did was make an introduction to Kanye [West]'s camp." He is set to produce a documentary about LGBT teenagers on summer camp.
Phoenix at the 2014 New York Film Festival
Phoenix dated his Inventing the Abbotts co-star Liv Tyler from 1995 to 1998 and model Topaz Page-Green from 2001 to 2005. Since late 2016, he has been in a relationship with actress Rooney Mara. in July 2019, it was confirmed that they are engaged. In May 2020, it was reported that Mara was expecting her first child with Phoenix. In late September 2020, it was announced that they have a son, named River after Phoenix's late brother.
In early April 2005, Phoenix checked himself into rehab to be treated for alcoholism. Since 2006, he has lived in the Hollywood Hills. On his religious background, he has said, "My parents believed in God. I'm Jewish, my mom's Jewish, but she believes in Jesus, she felt a connection to that. But they were never religious. I don't remember going to church, maybe a couple of times."
On January 26, 2006, while driving down a winding canyon road in Hollywood, Phoenix veered off the road and flipped his car. The crash was reportedly caused by brake failure. Shaken and confused, he heard someone tapping on his window and telling him to "just relax". Unable to see the man, Phoenix replied, "I'm fine. I am relaxed." The man replied, "No, you're not." The man then stopped Phoenix from lighting a cigarette while gasoline was leaking into the car cabin. Phoenix realized that the man was German filmmaker Werner Herzog. While Herzog helped Phoenix out of the wreckage by breaking the back window of the car, bystanders called an ambulance. Phoenix approached Herzog to express his gratitude.
Phoenix unexpectedly announced in late 2008 that he had retired from acting to pursue a career in rap music, and that the forthcoming Two Lovers would be his last film. On February 11, 2009, he appeared on Late Show to promote Two Lovers. He seemed incoherent and was mostly unresponsive to host David Letterman's questions about the film and his career plans. As the show ended, Letterman said, "okay, ah, I want to thank most of our guests tonight," to audience chuckles. Phoenix appeared on Late Show again on September 22, 2010, revealing that his "retirement" and eccentric behavior were for his role in a mockumentary called I'm Still Here.
In October 2012, Phoenix labeled the Academy Awards "bullshit". He later gave an interview apologizing for his comments, and acknowledged that the awards provide an important platform for many deserving filmmakers. He elaborated on the topic while on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2015, explaining that he is uncomfortable receiving accolades for his work in films when he considers the filmmaking process to be a collaborative one.
Phoenix is famous for his anxiety when acting and receiving awards. During a 2012 interview with Interview magazine, he said, "I still get nauseous the day before and have weeks of incredible anxiety. They have to put fucking pads in my armpits because I sweat so much that it just drips down my wardrobe. For the first three weeks of shooting, I'm just sweating. It's pure anxiety, and I love it."
Phoenix has long been a social activist, lending his support to a number of charities and humanitarian organizations, such as Amnesty International, The Art of Elysium, HEART, and the Peace Alliance (which campaigns for a United States Department of Peace). Phoenix is also on the board of directors for The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides daily meals to students of township schools in Soweto, South Africa, which was founded by his ex-girlfriend, South African model Topaz Page-Green.
Phoenix is a vegan, an animal rights advocate and a member of In Defense of Animals and PETA. He does not wear any clothes made out of animal skin. In his films, he requests that leather costumes be made from synthetic materials. For his lifelong dedication to animal rights, he was named PETA's Person of the Year in 2019.
For Nation Earth he narrated Earthlings (2005), a documentary about humanity's economic dependence on animals. He was awarded the Humanitarian Award at the San Diego Film Festival in 2005, for his work and contribution to Earthlings. He narrated his second documentary for Nation Earth called Unity (2015), along with other celebrity vegans such as actress Jessica Chastain and comedian Ellen DeGeneres. In 2017, he executive-produced the documentary What the Health, which premiered on June 16, 2017, on Netflix.
On January 10, 2020, Phoenix was arrested with actress Jane Fonda at a climate change protest outside the United States Capitol at Washington, D.C. At the protest, Phoenix spoke about the link between animal agriculture and climate change. On February 2, 2020, after being awarded the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Joker, Phoenix criticized the lack of diversity in the 2020 BAFTA nominations, as all of the nominees in the four main acting categories were white.
In February 2020, Phoenix starred in Guardians of Life, the first of twelve short films by the environmental organization Mobilize Earth that highlight the most pressing issues facing humanity and the natural world. Funds raised by the project will go to Amazon Watch and Extinction Rebellion. During his 2020 Oscar acceptance speech, he passionately promoted societal equality and animal rights, ending with a tribute to his brother River Phoenix. This speech received both praise and backlash from the dairy industry.
Following the death of animal rights campaigner Regan Russell, who was killed by an animal transport lorry outside of a slaughterhouse in June 2020, Phoenix expressed his support by attending a vigil in Montréal, and writing a statement for People magazine.
Awards and nominations
Phoenix is the recipient of an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, a Grammy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival and the Award for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, among numerous other accolades from industry groups, critics' associations, and film festivals.
Joaquin and River hold the distinction of being the only brothers nominated for acting Academy Awards. Both Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger won an Academy Award for their performances as the Joker, becoming the second pair of actors to win Academy Awards for playing the same character – the other pair being Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro, who won Best Actor and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor respectively, for their portrayals of Vito Corleone.
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Poem of the day
Sinners, Obey The Gospel-Word!
by Charles Wesley
Sinners, obey the gospel-word!
Haste to the supper of my Lord!
Be wise to know your gracious day;
All things are ready, come away!
Ready the Father is to own
And kiss his late-returning son;
Ready your loving Saviour stands,
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