Whenever we hear the names Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger the first thing that comes to our mind is ‘Joker’. Both actors are popularly known for playing the infamous villain in different DC outings. While Phoenix played the titular character in Todd Phillips’ 2019 psychological thriller, Ledger played Joker in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 superhero film, The Dark Knight.
Interestingly, both these terrific actors have been bestowed by an Oscar for their respective performances as Joker. Ledger received his award posthumously. However, did you know that Phoenix and Ledger have even competed against each other in the past for an Oscar?
Yes, you read that right. Much before they played Joker, they were both nominated in Academy’s Best Actor category for different films. In 2006, at the 78th Academy Awards, Heath Ledger was nominated as Best Actor for Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, while Joaquin Phoenix was nominated in the same category for James Mangold’s American biographical drama, Walk the Line.
While both their performances were exemplary in these films, none of them unfortunately won that year. It was Philip Seymour Hoffman, who actually bagged the award for Capote. Check out the video below:
Reportedly, the two stars became friendly during the award season that year. They bumped into each other several times, but apparently the friendship didn’t really grow beyond that. However, Phoenix paid tribute to Ledger at the SAG Awards earlier this year. He concluded his speech by saying, “I’m standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor, Heath Ledger. So thank you and goodnight.”
Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger are often compared for their performances as Joker. While some admires tend to lean on one side, there is another set of fans that discourage these comparisons. Distractify.com once quoted a user stating, “Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix were friends. So, how about we stop with the extreme comparisons of their Joker performances and propping up one to s–t on the other? It’s disrespectful and tasteless.”
Another Twitter user too had once quoted Phoenix praising Ledger. Check out the tweet below.
“heath’s joker? unrivaled. i will honor his memory. on set, it felt as if he was by my side. i love you heath, friend and brother. i miss you.”
— joaquin phoenix pic.twitter.com/7xrhJSt5nC
— Leia (@rosesmorte) October 5, 2019
We, too, refuse to pick any sides as both Joaquin Phoenix and Heath Ledger have made the character of Joker their own.