Joaquin Phoenix.

Doug and I have a long-standing tradition of watching all the movies nominated for “Best Picture” each year prior to Oscar Night. We’ve really enjoyed it and oftentimes, it forces us to watch movies that we might not otherwise.

This year though— this year has been quite the exception. We’ve only seen four of the nine movies nominated. We can blame it on overly busy schedules, but that would just be an excuse. The truth is… We can’t get past the movie Joker.

We’ve seen in six times. Six! 1-2-3-4-5-6

If you’ve been in our presence lately, chances are we’ve cornered you to talk about it.

For example, recently we attended a show with some of my musician friends, one of whom was clowning around saying that he was planning to go on stage shirtless and rock the “Iggy Pop vibe.” As soon as the word “shirtless” was uttered from his lips, Doug and I stumbled over each other to simultaneously ask if he’d seen Joker. We were thinking of these scenes, of course.

Admittedly, I wasn’t really interested in seeing it at first— movies based on comics aren’t really my genre. BUT, after seeing the trailer, I was intrigued by the color palette alone.

Yes, it’s a heartbreaking movie and there is quite a bit of disturbing violence— however, the cinematography, the film score, and the time period are just gorgeous. It’s shot with the same vibe, and is clearly inspired by, the Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese films, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy. But mostly, Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of his character, Arthur Fleck, is what really gets me. It’s nothing short of magnificent. The hauntingly beautiful solo dance scene in the public restroom had me in a trance. In it, Arthur has just started to begin his descent into madness— yet he moves with a grace and subtlety that is eerily captivating. It’s unforgettable.

And, the ominous stairwell— in the beginning of the movie, Arthur begrudgingly climbs the seemingly endless flight of stairs, often after defeat— But, once he takes control of his new identity, he dances down that same stairwell with a new-found confidence, or— cockiness having just appointed himself as the Joker.

Neither Doug nor I can recall a performance with which we’ve been so obsessed. It’s long overdue for Joaquin Phoenix to take home that little gold statue, but we believe (with massive expectation) this will be his year. Go, Joaquin!

Needless to say, on Sunday evening, with Moet in hand, we’ll be waiting in anticipation and with bated breath when we hear those words:

And the Oscar goes to…

Many thanks to Alyssa Pearson and her amazing crew at Resolution Rentals in Philadelphia for granting me permission to shoot on-set in Tom Ashley’s former green room. Resolution Rentals is a powerhouse in providing all the gear needed to produce your next photo shoot.