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Joaquin Phoenix Chokes Up During Touching Tribute To His Late Brother River In Oscar Speech

Rae Batchelor 10 Feb 2020

This year's Oscar ceremonies were incredibly emotional on a number of different fronts. From Parasite's historic Best Picture win to Brad Pitt's first ever Oscar win, there was no shortage of excitement and heightened emotions over the night.

One emotional moment happened during Joaquin Phoenix's acceptance speech.

Joaquin was the front-runner for and did eventually nab the statue for Best Actor for his performance in the pop culture zeitgeist Joker film.

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His speech was emotional from start to finish.

"I’m full of so much gratitude now. I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anyone in this room, because we share the same love – that’s the love of film," he began.

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"And this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know where I’d be without it."

"I think the greatest gift that it’s given me, and many people[here] is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless. I’ve been thinking about some of the distressing issues that we’ve been facing collectively," he continued.

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"I think at times we feel or are made to feel that we champion different causes."

"But for me, I see commonality. I think, 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.

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Joaquin was passionate in his beliefs.

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

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"We fear the idea of personal change, because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up."

"But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment," he stated.

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Joaquin then got very personal.

"I have 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 said.

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"I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other."

"Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption."

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Joaquin then became emotional and stammered over his words before paying tribute to his late brother, River, who died at the age of 23 in 1993.

"When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric. He said: 'run to the rescue with love and peace will follow,'" Joaquin said, closing off his speech to massive applause.

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We're sure River would be incredibly proud of Joaquin's work and his dedication to improving the world.

You can watch part of Joaquin's emotional speech right here.

Congratulations on your Best Actor win, Joaquin! It was well-deserved!

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