Joker star Joaquin Phoenix on Sunday won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the 26th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, giving the actor his fourth major prize this awards season. Phoenix in recent weeks took home Best Actor trophies at the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, both followed by a nomination for Best Actor at the upcoming 92nd Academy Awards. This third prize cements Phoenix as the frontrunner to win Best Actor at the Oscars, which would give the four-time nominee his first Academy Award: the star was first nominated in the Supporting Actor category at the 2001 Oscars for Gladiator and later scored Best Actor nominations in 2006 and 2013 for Walk the Line and The Master, respectively.
For his role as failed stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck, who descends into madness in early 1980s Gotham City, Phoenix was awarded Outstanding Performance over Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Taron Egerton (Rocketman). This marks Phoenix's first time winning a SAG, following nominations for his role as Commodus in Gladiator and Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.
During February's Academy Awards ceremony, Phoenix will compete for the top actor prize against DiCaprio, Driver, Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory) and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes).
Joker scored just two SAG nominations — it received a nod for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture, alongside Hollywood, Avengers: Endgame, Ford v Ferrari, and The Irishman — but the Todd Phillips-directed film leads the Academy Awards with 11 nominations, including nominations for Best Director and Best Picture, making Joker the first DC Comics film to compete for Hollywood's biggest prize.
Before Joker became just the fourth DC Comics-inspired film to earn more than a billion dollars worldwide — behind The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and Aquaman — Phoenix called the role "one of the greatest experiences" of his career.
"I guess I was interested, actually, in the light of Arthur, for lack of a better word," Phoenix told press during the Venice Film Festival in September, where Joker was awarded the Golden Lion, the festival's prestigious top prize. "It wasn't just the torment, it was kind of like the joy, it was his struggle to find happiness and to feel connected and to feel warmth and love. That's the part of the character that I was interested in and I think was worth kind of exploring. I don't think of a character as tormented. I don't ever kind of define characters in that way. It's only when I come to do press that I get asked these questions, but I never think of it that way."
Joker is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.