Brian Cox Slams Joaquin Phoenix Napoleon Performance

By Jennifer Muscato | Published

brian cox

Never one to mince words, Succession star Brian Cox is now coming for Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix saying that his performance in 2023’s Napoleon was “terrible”.

Napoleon Not Up To Expectation?

At first glance, it looked like Napoleon could have been up for a slew of Oscars, but it actually only received three nominations. And none of them were for acting, writing, directing or Best Picture.

According to the UK’s The Standard, Brian Cox’s reaction to the Ridley Scott-directed film included; “I don’t know what he was thinking. I think it’s totally his [Phoenix] fault and I don’t think Ridley Scott helps him. I would have played it a lot better than Joaquin Phoenix.

Brian Cox Says It Was Wacky

Brian Cox is Scottish and a classically trained Shakespearean actor. While he has a bunch of awards, it should be noted he doesn’t have an Oscar as Joaquin Phoenix does.

Cox didn’t stop there, even playing on Phoenix’s name. “I think he’s well named. Joaquin … wackeen … wacky. It’s a sort of wacky performance.”

Both actors were in 2013’s Her. Phoenix was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role.

No Historical Accuracy?

Brian Cox’s comments are making headlines everywhere. According to FandomWire, he spoke during a history-celebrating festival in the UK where he also said Napoleon is “lies.”

Speaking broadly, Cox complained about sacrificing historical accuracy for the sake of blockbuster filmmaking (Napoleon‘s budget was $200 million).

This criticism is something Ridley Scott heard on the film’s press tour. According to The New Yorker, the director told historical factcheckers to “get a life.”

Napoleon’s Reception

joaquin phoenix

For one example, the film has Napoleon and his men bombing pyramids in Egypt with cannons which is inaccurate. Also, most likely for dramatic effect, Napoleon stated Napoleon Bonaparte came from nothing and conquered everything. In reality, his family was minor nobility.

Napoleon made $221 million worldwide, but since its budget was high, it is not considered a success.

As for what the critics thought of Napoleon, it has a 57-percent on Rotten Tomatoes with Odie Henderson from the Boston Globe writing; “Phoenix is practically channeling an angry Donald Duck mid-meltdown.

Still, some online are questioning why an actor [Cox] would you say something so critical toward a peer.

Brian Cox Outspoken

It’s hardly the first time Brian Cox’s outspoken ways have landed him in the news. In March 2023, Cox commented on his Succession co-star Jeremy Strong and Strong’s method acting style.

Cox told Variety, “I don’t put up with all that American s***. I’m sorry … Just do the job. Don’t identify.” However, Cox said Strong was “a wonderful actor.” The pair worked side by side on the successful HBO show for four seasons.

In 2020, Brian Cox won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama for his portrayal of the billionaire patriarch of the Roy family, Logan Roy.

Joaquin Phoenix Has Not Responded

joaquin phoenix napoleon

Cox is now leading the West End production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night and, not surprisingly, he has something to say about theater critics. “Theater criticism has gone right down the tubes.

You think of those wonderful critics of the past, there’s nobody to match them now because they don’t do their homework.”

As for Cox’s comments about Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in Napoleon, Phoenix has not responded. He won his Oscar for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in 2019’s Joker and fans are anticipating the release of Joker: Folie à Deux on October 4 co-starring Lady Gaga.

Source: Variety