Joaquin Phoenix impressed at the Baftas on Sunday night, winning the best actor award and using his speech to call out the lack of diversity among the nominees.

On stage at the Royal Albert hall, the Joker star said:

I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege. 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 went on to add:

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.

The Oscar favourite concluded:

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.

Many were impressed, including the filmmaker behind The Farewell:

But some felt it was a win-win situation for the actor.

There were also naysayers, which is perhaps more surprising.

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