Joaquin Phoenix Oscars 2020 Award Speech Transcript

…But I think the greatest gift it’s given me and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about some of these distressing issues that we are facing collectively, and I think at times we feel or were made to feel that we champion different causes, but for me, I see commonality. 

I think whether we’re talking about gender equality, or racism, or queer rights, or indigenous rights, or animals rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice.

We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control, and use and exploit another with impunity.

I think that we’ve become very disconnected with the natural world, and many of us what were guilty of is an egocentric world view; the belief that we’re the center of the universe.

We go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources. 

We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth we steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable, and then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal, and I think we fear the idea of personal change because we think that we have to sacrifice something to give something up, but human beings at are best are so inventive and creative and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.

And I have been a scoundrel in my life. I’ve been selfish. I’ve been cruel at times, hard to work with, and ungrateful, but so many of you in this room have given me a second chance, 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 to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption. That is best of humanity.

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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