Diversity was the focus of the 73rd Annual British Academy Film / TV Awards ceremony. Award winner, Joaquin Phoenix harked a powerful plea during his acceptance speech for his role in” Joker.”
“I feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving, don’t have that same privilege. I think that we send a very clear message to people of color 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 I’m ways that we benefit from. I don’t think anybody wants a handout of preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated, and respected for their work. This is not a self-righteous condemnation, because I’m ashamed to say I am part of the problem.”
The controversy around the subject comes after an unnamed British organization unveiled a nominations list that included all white actors and all-male directors. Celebrities like Prince William and Rebel Wilson took the spotlight to hone in on their concerns about the lack of diversity amongst the Academy.
However, despite the lack of diversity, Michael Ward, the African American “The Rising Star” winner, received an enraptured response from the audience.
Afterwards, Lulu Lang, Director of the 2019 film” The Farewell,” responded to Phoenix’s speech on Twitter: “An uncomfortable silence filled the hall for a long, noticeable moment. Thank you, Joaquin.”