Joaquin Phoenix used his win at the BAFTAs to shed light on a really important issue. After being presented with the Best Actor award by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for his role in Joker, the 45-year-old called out the academy for their lack of inclusion. “The BAFTAs have been really supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative,” he told the crowd. “But I have to say, I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have the same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here.”
The Walk the Line star stunned the room of his peers, including nominees, Adam Driver, Taron Egerton and more film stars who sat in silence during his speech. Joaquin added that people of color aren’t asking for special treatment, but to be honored for their craft amongst their peers.
“I don’t think that anybody wants a hand or preferential treatment – although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think that people want to be acknowledged and appreciated and respected for their work,” he added. The Her star added that he is part of the problem and admitted that he hasn’t been as supportive in the fight as he could have been.
Before leaving the stage, Joaquin left the audience with the best solution to the problem of systemic racism in the industry. “I think it’s more than having multicultural sets,” he shared. “I think that we really have to really 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.” Joaquin has been praised at various award shows this season. Next weekend, the star is up for the Academy Award in the Best Actor category for his role in Joker.