In his acceptance speech for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ (BAFTA) Best Actor Award, Joaquin Phoenix spoke about the academy’s lack of diversity. Phoenix said that while he is honored with the recognition, he is conflicted because some deserving actors do not have the same privilege. He said that BAFTA is like saying that people of color are not welcome at the awards.
The Joker actor also acknowledged that he has not done enough to foster diversity in Hollywood and to ensure that the sets that he works on are inclusive. He said he is ashamed of being part of the problem. Phoenix added that it is important for the industry to understand systemic racism and the people who benefit the most from white privilege should be the ones to dismantle it. After his speech, Phoenix left his trophy on the podium.
All of the 20 nominees for the four main acting categories for 2020 BAFTA are whites. Several notable actors were snubbed. They include Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers, Cynthia Erivo for Harriett, Lupita Nyong’o for Us and Awkwafina for The Farewell.