Joaquin Phoenix used his Leading Actor acceptance speech to slam "systemic racism" at the 2020 BAFTA Awards.
The 45-year-old actor took home the gong for his performance as Batman villain the Joker in the eponymously titled 'Joker' at the awards ceremony in London on Sunday (02.02.20) and used his speech to call out the British Academy of Film and Television Arts for not nominating enough people of colour.
Speaking as he accepted his award, he said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight, BAFTA has 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 in ways that we benefit from."
Joaquin admitted he could do more to ensure the films he works on are "inclusive", but urged everyone to do the same.
He added: "This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I'm ashamed to say I'm part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure the sets that I work on are inclusive, but I think that it's more than just having sets that are multicultural."
And the star then went on encourage his peers to "dismantle" the "system of oppression" that creates "privilege" for white actors.
Joaquin said: "I think that we have to 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."