Joaquin Phoenix has received praise for using his Baftas speech to call out “systemic racism” in the film industry.
Ah, remember back in the day when Joaquin Phoenix called awards “total, utter bullshit?” It’s now 2020 instead of 2012, he’s nominated for Joker instead of The Master, and his approach toward awards season seems totally different, but presumably stems from the same place. Rather than rebuking the statuettes, he could receive, Phoenix is instead of waiting to receive them…then using his platform to explain how we need to do better. For example, while the actor used his Golden Globe win to promote veganism and climate change activism, he used his BAFTA Leading Actor win for Joker Sunday to address systemic racism in Hollywood.
“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year,” he continued. “I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation, because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem.”
“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight,” Phoenix told the audience. “But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. 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 have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural,” the actor explained. “We have to really do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.” Concluded the Joker star, “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. Thank you.” Phoenix then accidentally walked away from the podium without his BAFTA before cycling back, which again, shows you where his head is at, awards-wise.