American Horror Story's Kathy Bates Found Joaquin Phoenix's Joker Performance to Be Inspiring

Since the debut of Joker late last year, Joaquin Phoenix' performance as Arthur Fleck has been one of the most universally praised elements of the Todd Phillips film. It's a performance that has seen not only critical acclaim, but awards buzz as well for the way Phoenix brings to life the mentally ill stand-up comedian who, over the course of the film transforms from the downtrodden Fleck to the nihilistic criminal, the Joker. Praise for Phoenix's performance isn't limited to critics, though. Even his fellow actors have high regard for it, including American Horror Story star Kathy Bates who said she was inspired by it.

Speaking with Deadline, Bates said that she found Phoenix's Joker performance to be "electrifying" and said that it not only inspired her to "do better" with her own work but made her feel like the craft of acting would be in good hands well after she was no longer part of it.

"Well, recently I saw an incredible performance by Joaquin Phoenix and as the Joker and it was electrifying and I had seen his work over the years but this was just astounding and in fact, I've gone back and watched it again and to see a performance like that inspires me to do better and to see what's possible," Bates said. "To see the kind of intricacy of work and the building of a character slowly over time and I mean this in the best way, the selfishness that it takes to create that kind of performance and it just inspires me not to get better, although that's part of it, but it makes me so happy that there's a performance like that out there that I know when I moved on from this earthly plane that the craft will be in the hands of someone like him and a lot of the younger people that are coming up. It makes me feel that the last 50 years have been worth it."

Coming from Bates, this is very high praise as Bates herself is a well-regarded actor who has over the course of her career received numerous awards and accolades, including an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Bates herself is also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role as Barbara "Bobi" Jewell in Richard Jewell while Phoenix is also up for a Golden Globe. The actor was nominated for Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama for his role in Joker -- his sixth Golden Globes nomination.

And Bates isn't the only actor singing Phoenix's praises as the Joker. Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) star Margot Robbie also had praise for Phoenix's performance.


"[Phoenix] did a phenomenal job," Robbie recently told Variety. "I feel like the Joker film was much more grounded. Ours is different. It's heightened."

Joker is now available on Digital HD.