Los Angeles: Hollywood star Joaquin Phoenix finally ended his dry run at the Oscars as he picked up the best actor trophy for his performance in and as "Joker" at the 92nd Academy Awards.
The 45-year-old actor had earlier bagged a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for his turn as a failed, unhinged stand-up comedian who descends into chaos.
In a lengthy and rambling speech, Phoenix touched upon racism, climate change and gender inequality. He also remembered his brother River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 23 in 1993.
"When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said, 'run to the rescue with love and peace will follow'," Phoenix said.
At the Academy Awards and the entire Hollywood award season, Phoenix had emerged as an undisputed frontrunner even though he was up against the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio ("Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"), Adam Driver ("Marriage Story"), "Antonio Banderas ("Pain & Glory") and Jonathan Pryce ("The Two Popes").
An Oscar had eluded Phoenix for the most part of his career, despite his successful collaborations with Ridley Scott ("Gladiator"), James Mangold ("Walk The Line") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master"), all of which had earned him nominations.
But as Arthur Fleck aka The Joker, Phoenix finally managed to break that jinx and became the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the DC comic book villain after the posthumous best supporting actor win to Heath Ledger in 2008.
As Joker, Phoenix took a deep dive into character, capturing its essence as well as maniacal spirit in both body and soul. He lost 52 pounds to get into the physicality of Fleck and turned to a pathological disorder to get his distinct laughter right.
Phillips wrote the part keeping Phoenix in mind though the actor took some convincing to play the role. Phoenix started the film's festival circuit tour on a positive note at Cannes last year that followed by stops at Venice and Toronto.
The film had also courted controversies, owing to its theme of gun violence in the movie as well as Phoenix's temperamental press tour that saw him walking out of an interview midway. But critics and the fans loved the actor's riveting turn in the movie and his pointed speeches.
At the Golden Globes, he called out the industry for its insensitivity towards climate change and pulled up his peers for using private jets for travel, while at the SAGs, he joked how he would always lose a role to DiCaprio and asked Christian Bale to deliver a bad performance for once in his career.
In his acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, Phoenix acknowledged the lack of diversity in the nominations, calling himself a part of the problem.
Phoenix's career most praised performances include "Signs ", "We Own the Night", "Two Lovers", "The Immigrant", "Her", "You Were Never Really Here" and "Inherent Vice".
Full list of winners"
Best Actor - Joaquin Phoenix for 'Joker'
Best Actress - Renee Zellweger for 'Judy'
Best Supporting Actor - Brad Pitt for 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood'
Best Supporting Actress - Laura Dern for 'Marriage Story'
Best Director - Bong Joon-ho for 'Parasite'
Best Picture - Parasite
Best International Feature - Parasite (South Korea)
Best Original Screenplay - Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won for Parasite
Best Adapted Screenplay - Taika Waititi for 'Jojo Rabbit'
Best Animated Feature - Toy Story 4
Best Documentary Feature - American Factory
Best Documentary Short - Learning To Skate In A Warzone (If You're A Girl)
Best Live Action Short - The Neighbors' Window
Best Animated Short - Hair Love
Best Original Score - Joker
Best Original Song - (I'm Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman
Best Production Design - Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Best Sound Mixing - 1917
Best Visual Effects - 1917
Best Cinematography - 1917
Best Makeup and Hair - Bombshell
Best Costume Design - Little Women
Best Film Editing - Ford v Ferrari
Best Sound Editing - Ford v Ferrari
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New Delhi: Taking the Opposition head-on, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said while the PM CARES Fund is registered, the PM National Relief Fund, which was set up by the Congress government, was not yet registered.
She wondered why the Congress government never bothered to get the PM National Relief Fund (PMNRF) registered.
The minister, while replying to the debate on Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020, was responding to various issues raised by the Congress and other Opposition parties about the PM CARES Fund.
The Fund was set up by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide relief in times of emergency.
Observing that the PM National Relief Fund was set up in 1948, Sitharaman wanted to know why the Congress did not ask for its registration.
"Till today you didn't bother to ask it to be registered, I don't understand why. You should have actually asked. .. No, not one voice in that party. It took 23 MPs to write a letter now after 50 years. Like charity, transparency should start from home," she said.
Replying to questions raised by Opposition members over PM CARES Fund, Sitharaman compared its provisions, including registration, objectives, audit, RTI ambit, administration, management, CSR funding and tax deductions available, with that of PMNRF.
She said the big difference between PM CARES and PMNRF lies in the management of the funds. In PM CARES while Prime Minister is the ex-officio member and trustees include Ministers of Home, Defence and Finance, and nominated ex-officio trustees who are eminent persons from the field of science. "Management and decision making goes on record with regularly held meetings and recorded minutes," she said.
Whereas, in PMNRF, the management consists of Prime Minister, and President of the Congress party.
"Only party. And that only party's president will be there and transparency is achieved? How many political parties are there in the country? Thousands of parties we have," she added.
The Congress government, she said, could have given a place to Jan Sangh leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee or socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia on the board of trustees of the PM National Relief Fund.
Instead, she said, the Congress government thought it fit to give a place to the Congress president alone, as if it was the only political party.
The minister further said that objectives of both the PM CARES Fund and the PM National Relief Fund are the same and both enjoy similar tax benefits.
Sitharaman further said that 100 per cent tax exemptions are available on donations made to both the funds. Also donations by companies under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) are allowed for both funds.
Trinamool Congress member Saugata Roy wanted to know about the need to set up the second fund when the objectives of both funds are the same.
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused the government of trampling transparency by not disclosing the details of utilization of the PM CARES Fund.