Unsurprisingly, Joaquin Phoenix just won the award for Best Actor at the Oscars for his role as Arthur Fleck, aka the Joker. He's actually the second person who's won an Oscar for playing that same character (the first was Heath Ledger, who won it posthumously). While many moviegoers and critics weren't a fan of his frontrunner status—many worried it would inspire violence—his acceptance speech was refreshingly self-aware.
Now, Joaquin didn't address the controversy surrounding the movie or how the Arthur character was incredibly violent towards women, but he *did* acknowledge that he used to be a "scoundrel," and said that he was selfish, difficult to work with, and is immensely grateful that Hollywood gave him a second chance. As he put it, he is thankful that he was guided towards redemption.
Joaquin also took his win as an opportunity to talk about how "egocentric" society has become and question why humans feel the right to "artificially inseminate a cow" and "dominate and control the other [groups and species] with impunity.” He definitely took his full two minutes and used them to shed some light on issues that are important to him.
The speech was reminiscent of the one he gave at the BAFTAs, in which he called out Hollywood for how it "created and perpetuated and benefited from a system of oppression" and called on them "to be the ones to dismantle it."
Ultimately, his parting message tonight was encouraging everyone to "run to the rescue with love and peace will follow." Check out his speech right here:
Joaquin Phoenix: "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." #Oscars pic.twitter.com/K6HOkWRFws— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 10, 2020
Whatever you think about Joker, you gotta admit Joaquin's speech was pretty damn good.