Joaquin Phoenix thanked Hollywood for giving him a “second chance” as he accepted the Best Actor prize at the 2020 Oscars.
The 45-year-old took to the stage on Sunday to accept the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’ comic book thriller Joker, and candidly spoke directly to those who were affected by his bad behaviour over the years.
“I have been a scoundrel in my life,” a visibly emotional Joaquin told the star-studded audience. “I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times. Hard to work with. And I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance.
“I think that’s when we’re at our best – when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other for past mistakes. When we help each other to grow. When we educate each other. When we guide each other toward redemption. That is the best of humanity.”
Joaquin also took the opportunity to urge fellow celebrities and viewers around the world to come together and join the “fight against injustice”.
“I think, whether we’re talking about gender and equality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice,” he explained, noting that he was using his platform to give a “voice to the voiceless”.
Joaquin concluded his passionate speech with a song lyric written by his late brother River Phoenix, who tragically died at the age of 23 in 1993.
“When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said: ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow,'” he said, as the audience gave him a standing ovation.
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