Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar this Sunday at the glamorous award ceremony for his role in the Joker movie.
When he came onto the stage, he turned his recognition into a chance to speak up about important things.
The actor isn’t a fan of the award season and he actually once said in 2012 that ‘they’re bullshit’.
But, fast forward 8 years later, Phoenix claimed his first Oscar for his stunning performance as Arthur Fleck, the damaged clown in Joker.
Phoenix has somehow made peace with the award ceremonies and is now using them as a way to speak up.
Phoenix’s Emotional Speeches Started Earlier this Year
As of early January, when Phoenix received his first major award for Joker at the Golden Globes, he’s delivered several emotional speeches.
At the Globes, he praised the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for their inclusion of a plant-based menu as an answer to the climate change crisis. He also talked about the Australian wildfires.
At the SAG awards that happened after the Globes, Phoenix’s speech was about his acknowledgment of acting awards and he used the entire speech to give praise to the fellow nominees and to the late Heath Ledger who also played Joker and was his good friend.
At the BAFTA that happened earlier in February, he delivered a powerful analysis of systemic racism in the entertainment industry at a show for awards which was heavily criticized for the whiteness of the nominees.
He also said he was a part of the problem by not insisting that the projects he was working on were inclusive.
He believes it’s the obligation of people who have created and benefit from the system of oppression to be the ones who will put an end to it.
Passionate & Emotional Plea for Change & Justice
At the Oscars, Phoenix seemed a bit uncomfortable from the applause he received and asked from the audience to stop.
He stated his continuous objection to the idea that any one performance can be better than another.
He expressed his love and gratitude for film which he claims gave him the most extraordinary life.
But, it also gave him an obligation to give voice to the voiceless and to speak loudly about some of the major problems we’re facing.
Instead of speaking about racism or sexism or animal welfare separately, he connected them all together.
He said he thinks at times we feel or are made to feel we champion different causes, but what we’re talking about is a fight against injustice.
At an evening when there was no female director nominated for an Oscar, the actor’s speech seemed to emphasize some of the challenges of progress.
However, he ended in a positive note and expressed his hope about change.
The actor briefly lost his composure towards the end of the speech when he mentioned his brother, the late actor River Phoenix who died from overdose in 1993 and said ‘when I was 17, my brother wrote this lyric: run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.