Actor Joaquin Phoenix is overwhelmed that his film Joker is leading the Oscar nomination pack this year, and says that the Academy's encouragement helped ignite and sustain his career.
Phoenix turned the story of a mentally unstable loner and failed comedian Arthur Fleck, who picks violence to find calmness in his life, into a blockbuster.
"I feel honored and humbled to have been nominated by my fellow actors. The Academy's encouragement helped ignite and sustain my career and I am incredibly grateful for that support. I'd like to also congratulate my fellow nominees for being recognized for their inspiring performances that have enriched our art form," Phoenix said.
Todd Phillips' Joker, an origin story about superhero Batman's biggest enemy Joker, got 11 nods, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Other categories are Cinematography, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Original Score, Film Editing and Make-up and Hairstyling.
"Joker began as an idea, an experiment really -- take an 'indie approach' to a studio film by inverting it into a character study to reflect the world around us? Explore what we're seeing and feeling in society, from the lack of empathy to the effects of the absence of love. I am deeply honored by the overwhelming recognition of the Academy, and I want to thank the genius that is Joaquin Phoenix and all my incredible collaborators. We are beyond humbled that our peers in the film-making community have embraced the film and its message," Phillips said.
The Warner Bros Pictures project has become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time and has crossed the $ 1 billion mark at the worldwide box office. In fact, the impact is deep as it has sparked conversation around mental health. A follow-up to the film is also in the works.