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Joaquin Phoenix- Winner's Acceptance Speech, Best Actor, EE British Academy Film Awards in 2020

2 February 2020

Winner's acceptance speech by Joaquin Phoenix for Joker in the Leading Actor category  

JOAQUIN PHOENIX:  I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight.  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 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 don't think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that's what we give ourselves every year.  I think that people just want to be acknowledged and 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 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.  I think that we 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.  

Thank you.