In a powerful, stirring and emotional acceptance speech, the ‘Joker’ actor accused humans of being guilty of ‘going into the natural world and plundering it for its resources’.
Accepting his first Oscar for playing the role of a budding comedian Arthur Fleck in Joker, the vegan actor launched into a passionate speech about humans violating the natural and animal world and the need to ‘fight against injustice’.
Expressing gratitude for the opportunities the film industry has awarded him, he said he wanted to be a ‘voice for the voiceless’.
Facing ‘distressing issues’
Phoenix started by stating that he wanted to highlight some distressing issues and though different people championed different causes, the fundamental subject remained honouring indigenous rights.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively, and I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes,” said the actor.
“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.”
He then stressed on the selfishness of humans in assuming their superiority over other living entities and exploiting them for personal gains.
“We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity,” Phoenix said.
‘Disconnected from the natural world’
Next, he emphasized on how humanity had cut ties with the natural world and violated the sanctity of nature and the animal species.
“I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of is an egocentric worldview, the belief that we’re the center of the universe,” he explained.
“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.
“And then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
‘Beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment’
After brandishing the inhumane activities of the dairy industry, he urged that humans could tap into their creativity to make a better world.
“(We) are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment,” he said.
He finished his speech expressing how grateful he was for getting a second chance despite being “selfish”, a scoundrel” and difficult to work with” and was hopeful that by supporting “each other” there was hope for “redemption”.
Paying a tearful tribute to his late brother, River Phoenix, he quote a lyric written by the late actor: “Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow.”
The Phoenix influence
The actor’s emotional and powerful speech drew scores of reactions on social media.
“Powerful message! He used the platform to bring attention to change rather than just thank everyone and that’s that. Great speech!” tweeted one user.
“Absolutely!! I was giving him a standing ovation all alone here at home. Many will gripe about his speech but man, it will get talked about. Love him giving voice to the suffering animals,” wrote another.
The 45-year-old actor has had an amazing run at the awards season this year. He also bagged the coveted Best Actor gongs at Baftas, Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards.
He was also rumored to influence the managing Golden Globes committee to host an entire vegan menu at the ceremony last month.
Before going on to win the best actor gong at the 73rd British Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards, he joined Members of Animal Equality to protest at London’s Tower Bridge unfurling a huge banner that stated: “Factory farming is destroying our planet. Go vegan”.
At the SAG awards event, the passionate animal activist skipped the after-parties and headed straight to attend a pig vigil run by the Los Angeles Animal Save group less than 5 miles away from the awards venue.
“When you witness the horror that really happens behind closed doors and slaughterhouses to farmed animals all over the world, it’s impossible not to be affected by it and to realize that we have to do something drastic to stop it,” he said.
“I’m just doing my part and trying to amplify the voice of these activists that are out every day, doing something, taking action, and the least I can do is take some time off today and come here to talk about this issue.”
What do you think of Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscar speech? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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