Joaquin Phoenix has been racking up awards this season for his stunning portrayal of the ‘Joker’ in the blockbuster movie of the same name.
And while his winning streak proved no different tonight at the UK’s BAFTA Awards (the country’s equivalent of the Oscars), his speech hit quite a unique note.
For, in picking up the honor for Best Actor, he seized the moment to address the pressing issue in the room. That issue being a lack of diversity.
Leading up to the ceremony, even BAFTA organisers lamented the glaring omission of people of colour put forth by nominations committee, the domination of Caucasian males in key categories, and the total absence of females in the Best Director shortlist.
So problematic were the noms that an internal inquiry is being launched with a view to implement change ahead of next year.
Lighting a match under that cause, Phoenix did not hold back with the demand for change. He specifically stressed the need to dismantle “systematic racism” and even identified himself and his privilege as part of the problem. Intimating that it thus rendered him and others in the room key to establishing a solution.
Watch his powerful speech below…