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Joaquin Phoenix wins BAFTA for Joker, calls out systemic racism in acceptance speech- Cinema express

Joaquin Phoenix wins BAFTA for Joker, calls out systemic racism in acceptance speech 

BAFTA and AMPAS were heavily criticised for the lack of representation and diversity after the nominations were announced. 

Published: 03rd February 2020

Actor Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Best Actor award at the British Academy of Film and Television Awards on Sunday, took the opportunity to address the systemic racism in the film industry. He expressed his displeasure over BAFTA overlooking people of colour in its nominations. 

"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," he said onstage at the Royal Albert Hall. 

Both British Academy of Film and Television and Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences were heavily criticised for the lack of representation and diversity after the nominations were announced. 

The hashtag #BaftaSoWhite was a trending topic on social media, especially after the acting categories had shut out people of colour. Also, the fact that no women directors were recognised in the directing categories were heavily criticised. 

Calling himself "part of the problem", the actor, who won the award for his portrayal of Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips' Joker, said more than creating a diverse working environment, the issue at hand was about understanding "systemic racism".

"I don't think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that's what we give ourselves every year. I think 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," Phoenix said.

"I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think it's more than just having sets that are multicultural. 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. So that's on us," he added. 

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