Joaquin Phoenix admits he's 'part of the problem' of systematic racism at BAFTAs

Joaquin Phoenix admits he's 'part of the problem' of systematic racism at BAFTAs

The BAFTAs, which are essentially the British Oscars, took place last night, and while there were definitely plenty of awkward moments (did you see Rebel Wilson's Prince Andrew joke?), there were also some poignant, thought-provoking moments as well.

The most memorable of such being Joker actor Joaquin Phoenix's acceptance speech for Leading Actor, which he used to discuss the issue of systematic racism in the film industry, stating that he was "part of the problem".

Take a look at Joaquin Phoenix's poignant speech at the BAFTAs below:

For some context, early last month, following the announcement of this year's BAFTA nominations, it emerged that no non-white actors had been nominated. Of the 18 stars up for best actor, best actress, best supporting actor and best supporting actress, not a single actor or actress of color had been included.

Notably missing from the list of nominees was Awkwafina who became the first Asian person to win the award for best actress at the Golden Globes for her role in The Farewell.

Jennifer Lopez also failed to receive a nod for her role in Hustlers, Cynthia Erivo for her role in Harriet and even Lupita Nyong’o for her critically acclaimed performance in Us.

Remember when Ricky Gervais made a dig at the lack of diversity in the Golden Globe nominations for 2020:

The lack of inclusivity in the film industry both in and out of Hollywood has become so severe that Phoenix felt that as a white actor, he was obligated to admit that he had a certain amount of privilege, at the expense of actors of color.

He used the first part of his speech to share how "honored" and "privileged" he felt to be at the awards ceremony, adding: "The BAFTAs have always been very supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative". However, he then went on to say that he was "conflicted" because "so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege".

Rebel Wilson's BAFTAs speech left Prince William looking visibly uncomfortable:

Phoenix continued:

"I think that we send a very clear message to people of color 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.

I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think that 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. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think that it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural.

I think that we have to really do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. I think that 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."