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Joaquin Phoenix gives powerful speech about systemic racism at the BAFTAs

During his BAFTAs speech, Joaquin Phoenix took to the stage to bring to light the prevalent trends of white privilege, which are earning the organisation a questionable reputation.

He began by stating the nominations send “a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here.”

Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix has called out systemic racism at the 2020 award show during his acceptance speech. 

Phoenix said: “We have to do 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.”

Early in the show, Graham Norton cheekily named 2020 “the year when white men finally broke through.” The list of nominations included 11 for Joker, 10 for The Irishman and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and 9 for the World War I thriller 1917, all films with a mainly white cast.

The actor admitted that he’s part of the problem, referring to his involvement in projects and sets that weren’t culturally inclusive. He has been met with praise across Twitter from artists and actors of colour, including Lulu Wang who thanked him for the “uncomfortable silence” that followed and Viola Davis who appreciated his “honesty, solidarity and courage.”

The Duke of Cambridge, who is also the president of the BAFTAs, responded by commenting on “the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process.”

Watch the 2-minute acceptance speech: