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Best Actor Joaquin Phoenix Delivers Powerful Oscars Speech To Standing Ovation

Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar for his starring role in 'Joker', delivering an emotional speech where he tearfully quoted his brother River.

Accepting the award "full of so much gratitude", Phoenix said, "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 that it's given me, and many of us in this room, is the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless."

Phoenix's role in 'Joker' was one of the most controversial of the year, being labelled as pro-incel or promoting gun violence. Despite the backlash, the film went on to become the most profitable comic book movies ever and scored the most nominations this year with 11.

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Best Actor Joaquin Phoenix Delivers Powerful Oscars Speech To Standing Ovation
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Despite the divisive nature of the film, Phoenix used his speech to unite the audience.

"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 against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity."

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Phoenix went on to reflect on his own career and the way that the industry allowed him a second chance, leading him to the stage accepting his award.

"I've been a scoundrel in my life, I've been selfish, I've been cruel at times... hard to work with and ungrateful. But so many of you in this room have given me a second chance," the 45-year-old said.

Image: Warner Bros.

"I think that's when we're at our best," he continued, "when we support each other not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes."

The Oscars have gone host-less for two years now following the "cancellation" of Kevin Hart after homophobic tweets of his were resurfaced.

"When we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other towards redemption," Phoenix said, "that is the best of humanity."

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Becoming overwhelmed with emotion and struggling to speak, Phoenix ended his acceptance speech by honouring his late brother River.

"When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said 'Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow'."

Winning his first Academy Award, Phoenix had been nominated three times prior -- twice in the Best Actor category for his roles in 'Walk the Line' and 'The Master' and once for Best Supporting Actor for 'Gladiator'.

This also marks the second time an actor has won an Oscar for playing the Joker after Heath Leder won posthumously in 2009 for 'The Dark Night'.

Featured image: Getty.