Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix shares the most powerful message on learning from past mistakes
In a tearfully concluded speech, Phoenix paid a homage to his older brother, River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose in 1993 at the age of 23.
This was an Oscar of many firsts. It started with Brad Pitt winning his first-ever Best Supporting actor for his role in Quentin Tarantino's film, Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood. And then South Korean black comedy Parasite made history by becoming the first non-English movie to score Best Picture.
But what took the cake was Joaquin Phoenix’s emotional win at the 92nd Academy Awards. After being felicitated by most award shows of this season, the Joker actor landed the final and most coveted honour: Best Actor Oscar for his phenomenal role as Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’ latest DC adaptation.
Phoenix celebrated his win by thanking the Academy Awards, addressing the audience with a powerful message on the fight against injustice, personal growth, and learning and growing from past mistakes.
“I have been a scoundrel all my life, I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and I’m grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance,” the actor said addressing the crowd gathered at the Dolby Theatre.
“I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption,” he continued.
The actor, a vocal advocate of animal rights, also spoke about lending his voice to the voiceless, touching upon the subjects of gender inequality, racism, LGBTQ+ rights and more.
He said, “The greatest gift that it has given me, and many people in [this industry] is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively.”
“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,” he added.
Fighting back tears, Phoenix concluded his impassioned speech saying, “When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said: Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”
The reference of learning from past mistakes and growing was most likely to his brother River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose in 1993 at the age of 23.