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Jessica Chastain Calls Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Joker’ One of the ‘Greatest Pieces of Acting’ She’s Seen

Actors are falling for Joaquin Phoenix's unforgettable leading turn in Oscar season's most talked-about movie.



Warner Bros.

Actors are falling in love with Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” performance, which only strengthens his momentum to land an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Jessica Chastain recently took to social media to tout Phoenix’s work as Arthur Fleck, a downtrodden stand-up comedian who finds his purpose in life after committing acts of violence and becoming the Joker. After “Full Metal Jacket” and “Daredevil” actor Vincent D’Onofrio‏ championed Phoenix for awards recognition on Twitter, Chastain responded, “I agree. It’s one of the greatest pieces of acting that I’ve ever seen. Mouth was dropped open in the theatre as it played. It left me shook.” See their Twitter exchange below.

Phoenix has been considered a favorite to land an Academy Award nomination since “Joker” made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it shocked the industry by winning the Golden Lion. IndieWire’s awards prognosticator Anne Thompson currently has Phoenix locked in as a frontrunner in her Best Actor predictions. Throughout his career, Phoenix has been nominated for three Oscars: Best Actor for “The Master” and “Walk the Line,” and Best Supporting Actor for “Gladiator.” Right now, the race, among pundits, is head to head between long-overdue Phoenix and Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”), who has just one prior nomination under his belt.

Chastain’s praise has been echoed in “Joker” reviews, which have called Phoenix’s performance everything from “astonishing” to an “Oscar-caliber performance.” Ironically, Phoenix almost didn’t star in “Joker” because of his apprehension over joining a comic-book movie. Phoenix famously bowed out of “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For “Joker,” Phoenix initially wasn’t a fan of the movie’s ties to the DC Comics and Batman mythologies.

“[Joaquin] never liked saying the name Thomas Wayne,” director Todd Phillips told The New York Times earlier this month. “It would have been easier for him if the movie was called ‘Arthur’ and had nothing to do with any of that stuff. But in the long run, I think he got it and appreciated it.”

It turns out agreeing to star in “Joker” paid off both at the box office (the movie has earned over $850 million to become the highest grossing R-rated release in history) and in acclaim, with a fourth Oscar nomination for Phoenix all but certain.

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