But the actor is considered a strong contender for next year's Best Actor prize

Joaquin Phoenix has expressed his disdain for Hollywood awards season, calling the annual Oscar race “total, utter bullshit”.

The actor is considered a strong contender for the Best Actor prize at next year’s Academy Awards for his performance in The Master. In the film, Phoenix plays an alcoholic war veteran recruited into a religious cult – apparently based on the Church on Scientology – by Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s charismatic leader.

When asked about promoting the film on the awards circuit, Phoenix told Interview magazine: “I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s a carrot, but it’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life. I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective. Pitting people against each other… It’s the stupidest thing in the whole world.”

Phoenix is already a two-time Oscar nominee. In 2000, he was shortlisted for the Best Supporting Actor prize for his performance in Gladiator, but lost out to Benicio del Toro in Traffic. Then in 2005, his portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line earned him a Best Actor nomination, but he was beaten by Seymour Hoffman, who played the title role in Capote.

Recalling the 2005 Oscar race, Phoenix added: “It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life… I never want to have that experience again. I don’t know how to explain it – and it’s not like I’m in this place where I think I’m just above it – but I just don’t ever want to get comfortable with that part of things.”

However, Phoenix’s harsh remarks may not necessarily scupper his chances. In the past, actors Marlon Brando, Mo’Nique and George C Scott have all gone on to win Oscars after shunning the awards circuit.

Meanwhile, The Master starring Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman is due to open in UK cinemas on November 2 (2012). You can watch the film’s trailer below.