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Joaquin Phoenix calls out ‘systemic racism’ in Bafta speech

  • Published at 03:08 pm February 4th, 2020
Joaquin Phoenix
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Phoenix has delivered several cynical speeches this year with best actor wins at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards

Joaquin Phoenix delivered another memorable acceptance speech on Sunday, as he urged his industry to be more inclusive and mindful of “systemic racism.”

Accepting his Bafta for Best Actor, the Joker actor said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight, and the BAFTAs have always been very supportive of my career, and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my favourite actors who are deserving don’t have the same privilege.”

The acclaimed actor was alluding to the fact that the British Academy Film Awards failed to nominate a single actor of colour this year despite notable performances by the likes of Awkwafina, Eddie Murphy and Cynthia Erivo.

“I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here,” Phoenix continued solemnly. “I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.”

“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year,” he said. “I think people want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.”

“I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive. But I think that it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural,” Phoenix said. “I think that we really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So, that’s on us.”

Phoenix has delivered several cynical speeches this year with best actor wins at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards. 

Phoenix was widely praised on social media for his Bafta speech.

“Thank you Joaquin Phoenix. For your honesty, solidarity AND courage,” tweeted Viola Davis. “Well done.”

Phoenix’s next memorable speech might not be too far away with Osacrs coming up this Sunday, where he is the favourite to win best actor.