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The Evolution of Joaquin Phoenix

Written by on February 20, 2020

Story by Chuck Tackett

The Evolution of Joaquin Phoenix

“Stop. God, I feel so much gratitude right now and I do not feel elevated above any of my fellow nominees, or anyone in this room, because we share the same love, the love of film. And this form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life. I don’t know what I’d be without it. But I think the greatest gift 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 the distressing issues that we are facing collectively. And I at times, we feel or we’re made to feel that we champion different causes. But for me, I see community. 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. We’re talking about the fight, the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species have the right to dominate control and exploit another with impunity.

“I think that we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we’re guilty of, is an egocentric worldview, 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 our best are so inventive and ingenious, and I think that when we use love and compassion as our guideline principles, we can create, develop, and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings, and to the environment.

“Now I’ve been, I’ve been a scoundrel in 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. And I think that’s when we’re at our best when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other, 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 the best part of humanity.

“I just, I want to – when he was 17, my brother, (the late River Phoenix) wrote this lyric. He said ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow’ Thank you.”

The above quote was the acceptance speech in full given by Joaquin Phoenix on Sunday, February 9th, 2020 at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards. Mr. Phoenix won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role at the legendary villain the Joker in the movie “The Joker.”

As Joaquin was on stage, I sat on my couch transfixed on the words he uttered. I knew he would face severe negative criticism, not because it was empty babble, but because he spoke truth to power proving the point he had made earlier about the fear of change, the fear of sacrificing, of giving something up.

Kudos to you Joaquin for your courage. Now only if people will truly listen and take into consideration what you said.

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