Joaquin Phoenix won Oscar gold on Sunday night and when he took the stage to accept the best actor honor for his performance in “Joker,” he honored another actor, his late brother, River Phoenix.
“I’ve been a scoundrel in my life,” Phoenix told the crowd at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. “I’ve been selfish; I’ve been cruel at times; I’ve been hard to work with. I’m grateful so many of you in this room have given me a second chance.”
“I’m full of so much gratitude. and I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees or anybody in this room because we share the same love ― the love of film,” he began his speech, before going explaining that his platform has helped him use his voice “for the voiceless.”
The 45-year-old expressed that he’s been thinking “a lot about the distressing issues” in our country right now and the many different causes we all support. He told the audience that he believes that we’re all “fighting against injustice” and that everyone has become “very disconnected from the natural world.”
“We’re guilty of an egocentric world view,” said Phoenix, before adding that we “go into the natural world and we plunder it for its resources.”
Phoenix, without mentioning River by name, quoted his brother who never got a second chance of his own after suffering a drug overdose 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 as the audience cheered.
River, who was both a big screen star and a the lead singer of alt-rock band Aleka’s Attic, died at just 23 years old.