HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 09: Joaquin Phoenix accepts the Actor In A Leading Role award for ‘Joker’ onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It was the moment we were all waiting for at the Oscars – Best Actor – and for even the most seasoned of predictors, it was anyone’s game. It came down to just five actors, Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonathan Pryce and Antonio Banderas, but after a clean sweep at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, it was the Joker actor that took away the gold statue. No one doubted Joaquin Phoenix would use his precious minutes in front of the world’s eyes for nothing but to bring light to societal and political issues, but it was far more touching than anyone could expect.

Wearing the same Stella McCartney suit he vowed to wear all awards season, the 45 year-old used his speech to address animal cruelty as well as “the distressing issues we’re facing” including gender, equality, racism, animal rights and environmental issues” in three-and-a-half minutes.

He also called out speculation that he has been difficult to work with in the past, particularly in Joker. “I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees because we share the same the love of film and this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life,” he said. “I don’t know what I’d be without it. I’ve been a scoundrel in my life,” he said. “I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with. Many of you in this room have given me a second chance.”

He then continued by pushing people to turn vegan.“We’ve become very disconnected from the natural world,” he said. “We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives first we steal the baby and then we take her milk that’s intended for the calf and we put it in our coffee.”

He remained silent for some time, appearing to almost be in tears before closing his speech quoting a lyric written, aged 17, by his late brother, River: “Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”

Congratulations Joaquin.

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