Here’s the Joaquin Phoenix Speech Everyone is Talking About

The “Joker” actor took home his first Oscar on Sunday and touched on several social justice issues in a lengthy acceptance speech.

Joaquin Phoenix took home his first Oscar on Sunday, and in his acceptance speech, touched on several social justice issues. 

Phoenix won in the Best Actor category for his starring role in “Joker,” which has received many accolades throughout award season. During his nearly 3-minute-long acceptance speech, Phoenix spoke about giving a “voice to the voiceless.”

“And I think at times we feel, or we’re made to feel, that we champion different causes,” Phoenix said. “But for me, I see commonality. I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality, or racism, or queer rights, or indigenous rights, or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.”

The actor also talked about humans’ belief in being the “center of the universe.” 

“We go into the natural world, and we plunder it for its resources. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow. And when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable,” he said onstage. “And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

Phoenix has been an avid supporter of animal rights and openly champions being vegan. This awards season, he worked to ensure the menus at each major award show include vegan meals. 

Towards the end of his speech, he talked about Hollywood giving him a second chance after being a “scoundrel.” 

“I’ve been selfish, I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful,” he said. “But so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that’s when we’re at our best. When we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but 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.”

The audience applauded Phoenix’s emotional speech, and he wrapped it with a quote from his late brother and actor River Phoenix. 

“When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said, ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.’” 

Phoenix has been previously nominated by The Academy for his work in “Gladiator,” “Walk the Line,” and “The Master.” This is his first win.