Joker Movie Director Todd Phillips Celebrates the Film's Two Oscar Winners

Joker writer-director Todd Phillips "couldn't be prouder" after star Joaquin Phoenix and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir scored their first-ever Oscar wins during Sunday's 92nd Academy Awards ceremony. For his role as Arthur Fleck, a mentally troubled loner turned makeup-wearing madman, Phoenix was awarded Best Actor, marking only the second time in history two actors have won an Oscar for portraying the same character. Guðnadóttir was awarded Best Original Score, the first win scored by Joker on Oscar night. The R-rated origin story for the infamous Batman villain had earned 11 nominations in all and is now tied with 2008's The Dark Knight for most Oscars won by a DC Comics-inspired film.

"How ‘bout our boy last night? And our girl Hildur!? Couldn’t be prouder to have these two represent the entire Joker cast and crew," Phillips wrote Monday when sharing a collection of Oscar night photos on Instagram. "Say what you want about the film — but there is simply NO ONE like Joaquin Phoenix." Phillips ended the tribute with a lyric borrowed from Phoenix's late older brother, River Phoenix: "Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow."

Phoenix earlier cited his brother's lyric when ending his acceptance speech, which moved Phillips to tears. In the speech, Phoenix urged his colleagues to use their voices "for the voiceless," saying, "I think, whether we're talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we're talking about the fight against injustice. We're talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity."

Continuing, Phoenix said people have “become very disconnected from the natural world, and many of us, what we're guilty of is an egocentric worldview… the belief that we're the center of the universe."

"But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment," Phoenix said. "I've been a scoundrel in my life. I've been selfish. I've been cruel at times, hard to work with and ungrateful, but so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that's when we're at our best, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption. That is the best of community."

Before concluding, Phoenix said, "When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. It said, 'Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.'"


Phillips earned his first Oscar nomination in the directing category, an award ultimately won by Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho.

Photo credit: Kevin Winters