Joaquin Phoenix wins Academy Award for best actor at 2020 Oscars

Joaquin Phoenix won the Academy Award for best actor in a leading role for his performance in “Joker” at the 2020 Oscars Sunday.

The actor, 45, beat out fellow nominees Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”), Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”) and Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”).

This is Phoenix’s first Oscar win. He’s been nominated before, for his performance in “Gladiator” in 2001, “Walk the Line” in 2006 and “The Master” in 2013.

The actor expressed his gratitude to the Academy and his fellow nominees in his acceptance speech.

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“I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room because we share the same love — 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.”

He then talked about how acting has allowed him to champion causes and speak up for others.

“I think the greatest gift that it has given me, and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless,” he said. “I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively, and I think at times we feel, or are made to feel, that we champion different cause. But for me, I see commonality.”

He went on, “I think that whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice — we’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.”

He acknowledged that he is not a perfect human being and that many in the room have given him a second chance.

“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 to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption,” he said.

He also mentioned his late brother River Phoenix: “I want to…when he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said, ‘Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.’ Thank you.”

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