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.
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. 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.More Info
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), an alcoholic war veteran in The Master (2012), and the title character in Joker (2019), winning for the latter. 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), winning the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor for the latter.More Info
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.More Info
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."More Info
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