Bafta Awards 2020: Joaquin Phoenix praised for calling out ‘systemic racism’


Joaquin Phoenix has received praise for using his Baftas speech to call out “systemic racism” in the film industry.

Phoenix collected the best actor award for Joker on Sunday, and his comments followed an outcry about the all-white acting nominations line-up.

“I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here,” he said.

Actress Viola Davis and director Lulu Wang, who made The Farewell, were among those to applaud him on Twitter.

While no women were nominated for best director for the seventh year in a row, Wang was at the London ceremony after The Farewell was nominated for best film not in the English language.

Davis, who won a Bafta award in 2017 for her role in Fences, thanked Phoenix for his “honesty, solidarity and courage”.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Bafta speech in full

“I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight. The Baftas have already 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 and in ways that we benefit from.

“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment – although that’s what we give ourselves every year. People just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.

“This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I was on are inclusive.

“But I think it’s more than just having sets that are multi-cultural. We have to do really the hard work to truly understand systemic racism.

“I think 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.”


About Author

Comments are closed.