We were really looking forward to catching up with Joaquin Phoenix in the next few months, talking about the mysteries in his new movie, "The Master," maybe having a beer or two and singing a Johnny Cash song ("I'll handle June's harmony; you just do what you do with The Man in Black") but cashing out the tab well before Phoenix crosses over to hip-hop.
Those plans feel like pipe dreams now as Phoenix recently told Elvis Mitchell in Interview magazine that he has no desire whatsoever to make the awards circuit rounds this year, describing the process in scatological terms that we can't fully detail here. (Use your imagination to fill in the blanks.)
"I'm just saying that I think it's ... I think it's total, utter ..., and I don't want to be a part of it," Phoenix says. "I don't believe in it. It's a carrot, but it's the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life. I don't want this carrot."
"It's totally subjective. Pitting people against each other . . . It's the stupidest thing in the whole world. It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when 'Walk the Line' was going through all the awards stuff and all that. I never want to have that experience again. I don't know how to explain it -- and it's not like I'm in this place where I think I'm just above it -- but I just don't ever want to get comfortable with that part of things."
(And lest you think he's not serious about his intentions or the whole carrot analogy, Phoenix took to his Twitter account today -- for the first time in more than two months -- to make himself clear.)
Phoenix is hardly the first actor to balk at eating his vegetables this time of year. Christian Bale refused any and all interviews for "The Fighter." Sean Penn did little to promote "Milk." And even without the glad-handing, both actors still managed to win Oscars. When "Precious" was in the awards-season mix three years ago, Mo’Nique alienated a few people by asking two basic questions: A) "What are you campaigning for, though?" And B) "What does it mean financially?"
And, yes, she still won the Oscar for supporting actress.
Phoenix's sentiments put him in the company of Marlon Brando, George C. Scott and Woody Allen, to name a few. Not a bad group. So, godspeed, Joaquin, on your quest for better, finer carrots! Start here. They're local, and they're delicious.