The 2020 Oscars had become less entertaining, and more of a political affair. From Brad Pitt’s acceptance speech jabs on Trump, Janelle Monae’s and Billy Porter’s black power performance, and even to Joaquin Phoenix’s bizarre speech on cows, the award season has become a platform to influence people’s voting opinions.

Joaquin Phoenix who won the Oscar for Best Actor in the 92nd annual Academy Awards for playing a character who glorifies violence tried to spread a message of commonality, equality and bizarrely argued how humans have the right to milk and inseminate a cow.

Phoenix who played a “dangerous” villain, depicting images of sadism, violence and relationship abuse stepped in to receive the award. Despite portraying a violent character, Phoenix advocated for animal rights and said that “I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world. Many of us are guilty of an egocentric world view, and we believe 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 steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable. Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal,” the actor said.


The actor also talked about the major “issues” in society. Phoenix added “I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively and I think, at times we feel, or were made to feel, that we champion different causes. But for me, I see commonality. 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.”

Phoenix continued “We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender, one species, has the right to dominate, use and control another with impunity”.

He also challenged the crowd to create change and find better ways to live, something that might be easy to do if someone is living a million-dollar lifestyle and has access to- well everything. “We fear the idea of personal change because we think we need to sacrifice something; to give something up. But human beings at our best are so creative and inventive, and we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and the environment,” Phoenix said.

The actor also admitted his own selfishness in his speech. “I have been a scoundrel all 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. I think that’s when we’re at our best: when we support each other. Not when we cancel each other out for our past mistakes, but when we help each other to grow. When we educate each other; when we guide each other to redemption.”

Finally, the actor ended his lengthy speech by remembering his brother, River. “When he was 17, my brother [River] wrote this lyric. He said: run to the rescue with love and peace will follow.”

Phoenix was the second actor to win an Oscar for playing the DC Villain “Joker” after Heath Ledger received the award for Best Supporting Actor in 2008 for that same role.

It was also his first Oscar win after four nominations in his roles in the “Gladiator” and “Walk the Line”. “Joker” also won two other awards that night including best original score and the night’s biggest prize- the best picture.

As Hollywood becomes political, the academy awards also had its share of controversy. These include talks about the lack of female representation in film. In fact, even actress Keira Knightley wore a cape with the names of the female directors that had the nomination snubs.