After three Academy Award nominations over the years for outstanding portrayals such as Johnny Cash in 2005's Walk the Line, Joaquin Phoenix has finally won an Oscar. The win, of course, was awarded to him last night for his role as Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips' Joker, a film that may have created just as much controversy as it did praise. And much like his previous wins this award season, Phoenix's speech tackled real-world issues.
The 45-year-old star decided this time to discuss animal rights, admitting that everyone has been "disconnected from the natural world," explaining:
"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."
Phoenix's take puzzled some viewers at home wondering what it had to do with Joker or his win, but when he eventually came to his conclusion and referenced his late brother, River Phoenix, ears perked up. "When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said, ‘Run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow,'" the Inherent Vice actor stated, and was met with cheers from the audience.
River was only 23 years old when he died of a drug overdose outside of the famous West Hollywood club The Viper Room in 1993. Joaquin was the one to call 911 after seeing his brother collapse on the sidewalk, and tragically River was then pronounced dead at the hospital after failed attempts to resuscitate him.
Though it's coming on 27 years since River's death, it's clear he's still a massive part of Joaquin's heart, especially during big events like the Oscars, where the late actor would have thrived.