The accolades have been rolling in for actor Joaquin Phoenix after his powerful and jarring performance in "Joker." But each time Phoenix wins one of these Best Actor statues, he's been sharing more calls to action than thank yous. Phoenix's most recent win came at the BAFTAs Sunday night. While he was grateful to be chosen as Leading Actor, Phoenix admitted he was also "conflicted." Why? Because, he explained, Hollywood was guilty of "systemic racism." The association nominated all white actors in all of the four main acting categories last month, which sparked the trend #BaftasSoWhite.
Phoenix called out the BAFTAs right on their doorstep.
At last night's BAFTA Awards, Joaquin Phoenix said Hollywood's plagued w/ "systemic racism":— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) February 3, 2020
"I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don't have that same privilege .. We send a very clear message to people of color that you're not welcome here." pic.twitter.com/QxioIF9frd
There was an awfully long silence, The Guardian reported:
"Phoenix’s words were met by what Lulu Wang – the director of Chinese-American drama The Farewell, which was nominated for best original screenplay – called 'an uncomfortable silence … for a long noticeable moment.'"
But that silence doesn't exactly mean his fellow thespians disagreed with him. In fact, as The Guardian notes, many actors and directors applauded his remarks.
The Oscars are less than a week away. Will the Academy still reward Phoenix for his performance after that surprise speech? And if so, will he use the Oscars stage to once again accuse the industry of racism?
Phoenix has used this awards season to speak out on other political issues. He recently attended Jane Fonda's environmental protests on Capitol Hill and urged supporters to be more eco-friendly. Although he himself admitted that he "can't avoid" flying. At the Golden Globes, Phoenix was proud to announce that he was wearing a sustainable suit. Finally, before the BAFTAs, he helped Animal Equality activists display a huge banner off the side of Tower Bridge to encourage people to "go vegan."