Joaquin Phoenix is all but certain to be among the nominees for Best Actor at the 85th annual Academy Awards, but he's not necessarily looking forward to the honor.
"I think it's bulls--t," Phoenix said about the Oscars in a frank, wide-ranging discussion with Elvis Mitchell in the latest Interview magazine. "I think it's total, utter bulls--t, and I don't want to be a part of it. I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot. It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other ... It's the stupidest thing in the whole world."
Phoenix raced to the front of early Oscar discussion thanks to his startling work in "The Master," Paul Thomas Anderson's epic drama about the duality of man and the origins of a religious movement that's not unlike Scientology. (Phoenix and co-star Philip Seymour Hoffman -- a co-lead in the film, though Hoffman is running in the Best Supporting Actor category -- were honored at the Venice Film Festival for their performances.) The buzz around Phoenix has dimmed in recent weeks, however, with "The Master" struggling to find a theatrical audience and Daniel Day-Lewis' much-ballyhooed turn in "Lincoln" living up to its advanced hype. At the Oscar predictions site GoldDerby.com, only six out of 24 experts still have Phoenix ahead of Day-Lewis on the Best Actor charts.
This isn't the first time Phoenix has been under consideration for an Academy Award. He was nominated in the Supporting Actor category for 2000's "Gladiator," and was among the Best Actor finalists for 2005's "Walk the Line."
"It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when 'Walk the Line' was going through all the awards stuff and all that," Phoenix told Mitchell. "I never want to have that experience again. I don't know how to explain it -- and it's not like I'm in this place where I think I'm just above it -- but I just don't ever want to get comfortable with that part of things."
For more on Phoenix, head over to Interview Magazine. "The Master" is out in theaters now; the 85th annual Academy Award nominations are announced on Jan. 10, 2013.
Anthony Lane (New Yorker)
On reflection, and despite these cavils, we should bow to The Master, because it gives us so much to revere, <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/cinema/2012/09/17/120917crci_cinema_lane" target="_hplink">starting with the image that opens the film and recurs right up to the end</a>.
Karina Longworth (Village Voice)
It's a film of breathtaking cinematic romanticism and near-complete denial of conventional catharsis. You might wish it gave you more in terms of comfort food pleasure, <a href="http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-09-12/film/the-master-paul-thomas-anderson-film-review/" target="_hplink">but that's not Anderson's problem</a>.
Linda Holmes (NPR)
Gorgeous to look at and <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2012/09/11/160927341/tiff-12-strong-performances-highlight-paul-thomas-andersons-the-master?ft=1&f=1045" target="_hplink">an absolute feast of strong and interesting acting</a>.
Calum Marsh (Slant Magazine)
The Master is Paul Thomas Anderson with the edges sanded off, <a href="http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/the-master/6501" target="_hplink">the best bits shorn down to nubs</a>.
Scott Tobias (AV Club)
It's a feisty, contentious, deliberately misshapen film, designed to challenge and frustrate audiences looking for a clean resolution. <a href="http://www.avclub.com/articles/the-master,84866/" target="_hplink">Just because it's over doesn't mean it's settled</a>.
Katey Rich (CinemaBlend.com)
The Master is unforgettable, but like the mercurial men at its center, the harder you try to read into it, <a href="http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/The-Master-6016.html" target="_hplink">the more it slips away into the distance</a>.
Christy Lemire (Associated Press)
In his first film since the 2010 performance-art stunt of "I'm Still Here," <a href="http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/10/review-andersons-gorgeous-challenging-master/" target="_hplink">Phoenix once again digs deep to mine his character's inner torment and comes up with a mix of haunting quirks and tics</a>.
Lou Lumenick (New York Post)
It's a sharply written, unforgettably directed character study <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/movies/cult_hit_yYhSsDuGHem6QoS3QLwebL?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=Movies" target="_hplink">with brilliant performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams</a>...
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
I believe in the church of Paul Thomas Anderson. Fierce and ferociously funny, The Master is a great movie, <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/the-master-20120910" target="_hplink">the best of the year so far, and a new American classic</a>.
David Edelstein (New York Magazine)
Anderson is a romantic who has earned his nihilism. He clarifies nothing, <a href="http://www.vulture.com/2012/09/edelstein-on-the-master.html" target="_hplink">but leaves us brooding on our own confusion</a>.