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 garnered acclaim and a backlash from the dairy industry.
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, but Herzog downplayed his actions and returned to his home nearby.More Info
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. 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.More Info
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.More Info
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 lambasted the lack of diversity in the 2020 BAFTA nominations, as all of the nominees in the four main acting categories were white.More Info
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.More Info
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