Joaquin Phoenix won the best actor Academy Award Sunday for his role as a wanna-be comedian destined to become a supervillain in “Joker.”

It is Phoenix’s first Oscar and fourth nomination. 

Widely praised for performances in films ranging from “Gladiator” to the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line,” a best actor win had proved elusive for Phoenix.

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Phoenix had been seen as the front-runner for the award heading into Sunday’s ceremony. “Joker” won the best original score Oscar as well, and is up for the night’s final prize, best picture.

He becomes the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the notorious DC Comics villain. Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for playing the Joker in “The Dark Knight” in 2008.

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