After reading the treatment, Phoenix agreed to play the role of Scott Favor. However, since Van Sant had already cast Reeves as that character, he had to convince River to take on the edgier role of the drug-addicted hustler Mike Waters. For his performance, Phoenix won Best Actor honors at the Venice Film Festival, the National Society of Film Critics, and the Independent Spirit Awards. The film grossed $6.4 million in North America, against a budget of $2.5 million. Its success solidified Phoenix's image as an actor with edgy, leading-man potential after successful roles in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and Running On Empty, which won the 19-year-old a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.