Nearly everyone who has seen Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” agrees that the performances by its two leads, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, and co-star Amy Adams, are Oscar-caliber turns. Given rich, complex characters to dive into, in a world unlike anything we’ve really seen on the big screen, the trio really deliver some special moments in the film. But let’s be frank, Oscars are as much of a political campaign as the race for the White House, and if you aren’t willing to play ball, you won’t be invited to the Dolby Theater. Yes, there are exceptions, but that’s the basic rule of thumb. And one man who has already been absent for most of the press tour for “The Master,” has essentially written himself out of the Oscar race as well.
In a pretty fantastic conversation with Elvis Mitchell at Interview, Phoenix explains why he’s not participating in the awards circuit gauntlet. “I’m just saying that I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. 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,” he says. “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.”….
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