As Theodore, a man in love with his AI system, Phoenix is heartbreaking to watch. Theodore writes love letters as a profession, holding on to the sincerest and most traditional forms of expressing love in a world where technology has taken over.
As Commodus, the vile son and murderer of Marcus Aurelius, Phoenix shows a tremendous control over wielding petty violence and calm authority. The role won the actor his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Before Phoenix played the most unhinged loner (Joker) in cinematic history, he starred in this Paul Thomas Anderson film as a World War II veteran whose loneliness manifested through his involvement in a cult.
Despite having a relatively small role in the film, Phoenix is memorable as foreign journalist caught up in the Rwandan Genocide.
Playing yet another wicked but riveting character, Phoenix plays a theatre manager who forces a young immigrant woman into prostitution.
From Pinjar to Sonchiriya, here are our top picks