In a moving speech that will echo in people's minds for a long time, Phoenix talked about loving and supporting each other.
On Sunday, February 9, 2020, the who's-who of Hollywood and international cinema gathered at Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, to honor the best in their art. Oscar Awards 2020 saw some surprise wins and some that were truly deserving.
Joaquin Phoenix won the coveted Best Actor Oscar award for his earth-shattering performance in Joker. This was his first time winning an Academy Award. He was pitting for the honor against fellow nominees Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, Adam Driver for Marriage Story, Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes and Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, PEOPLE reported.
While his win itself did not come as a surprise to movie buffs, having won the best actor award for Joker in a few other award shows, what did catch people's attention and heart is his acceptance speech. In his three-and-a-half-minute speech he not only teared up himself but also must have left millions around the world moist-eyed.
Being a champion of environment conservation, Phoenix, 45, touched upon some of the "distressing issues" around the world including gender inequality, queer rights, indigenous rights, animal rights, etc. and talked about being the voice of the voiceless.
He also went on to talk about the days when people supported and guided him despite him being a difficult person to work with.
“I’ve 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,” he told the audience. “And I think that’s when we’re at our best, when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes, but when we help each other grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other towards redemption. That is the best of humanity,” he said.
He then, in his shaky voice and with moist eyes, mentioned his late older brother River Phoenix. “When he was... when he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric,” he said. “He said, ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.'” By now, Phoenix looked overwhelmed with emotions and why not? His brother in some way or the other has inspired him. Musician and actor River Phoenix passed away in 1993 at the tender age of 23 due to his long history with substance abuse.
In an old interview, the fiercely private Gladiator actor had opened up about River's passing and how he always feels his presence around him. “I feel like in virtually every movie that I made, there was a connection to River in some way," Phoenix said. “And I think that we’ve all felt his presence and guidance in our lives in numerous ways," the Independent quoted him.
The Oscar winner's mother also opened up about her grief of losing her singer and actor son and how her grief was unpredictable. “The grieving process happens out of nowhere, you know?” she said. “I'll be driving and all of a sudden, I will feel it. And I'll just welcome it."
On the night of February 9, 2020, as Phoenix mentioned his brother in his emotional speech in one of the most coveted rooms in the world, he made us feel the same vibes that probably keeps him surrounded all the time - the vibe of his brother's love. Love, that is so pure, it only knows to give!
Congratulations Joaquin Phoenix for winning the Oscar and our hearts all over again. You are a legend, not for nothing!