Joaquin Phoenix may not have mentioned Tinder and Margot Robbie’s feet, but the actor still gave one of the most memorable acceptance speeches at the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards. The Joker star, who won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role on Sunday, complimented his fellow nominees (to Christian Bale: “You never turn in a bad performance. It’s infuriating. I wish you would, just one time, just suck once, OK?”) before acknowledging the Clown Prince of Crime that came before him.
No, not Jared Leto, but Heath Ledger.
“I’m standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor Heath Ledger,” Phoenix said. Ledger, who died in 2008 from an accidental overdose when he was 28 years old, received numerous posthumous awards for playing the Joker in The Dark Knight, including Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards, Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role at the Golden Globes, and, fittingly, Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at the SAG Awards.
Before Joker came out and made over $1 billion at the box office, Bale, the Batman to Ledger’s Joker, called Phoenix “brave” for taking on the role. “Joaquin is one of the best actors around, you know, and obviously I worked with Heath,” he said. “You know, it’s a brave thing to follow up that performance and he always makes interesting choices.”
You can watch Phoenix’s speech below.
"I'm standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor Heath Ledger." Joaquin Phoenix thanks the late #DarkKnight star while accepting the #SAGAwards statue for #Joker https://t.co/tD2ozkArqi pic.twitter.com/k9q8hwFFrM
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) January 20, 2020