BAFTAs 2020: Joaquin Phoenix wins Best Actor for 'Joker'

Tom Butler
Senior Editor

Joaquin Phoenix won the leading actor Bafta for Joker at tonight’s EE British Academy Film Awards.

He won over fellow nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Adam Driver, Jonathan Pryce and Taron Egerton.

Phoenix took aim at "systemic racism" and "oppression" within the industry in his acceptance speech.

Phoenix said: "I feel very honoured and privileged to be here tonight - Bafta has always been very supportive of my career and I'm deeply appreciative.

Joaquin Phoenix attending the 73rd British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, London.

But I have to say that I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don't have that same privilege.

Read more: Full list of BAFTAs 2020 winners

"I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you're not welcome here, I think that's the message that we're sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.

"I don't think anybody wants a hand-out or preferential treatment, although that's what we give ourselves every year. I think people want to be appreciated and respected for their work.

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (Warner Bros.)

"This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I am part of the problem, I have not done everything in my power - not all sets I've worked on are inclusive.

"I think that we really have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism... it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuated and benefit from a system of oppression to dismantle it, so that's on us."

Earlier in the day, Phoenix made a plea for people to "go vegan" as he led an animal equality protest in central London.

The Hollywood A-lister used his pulling power to gather a group of activists for a protest where he dropped a 390-square foot banner from Tower Bridge which declared: "Factory farming destroys our planet. Go vegan."