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Joaquin Phoenix
Oscars Speech
February 9, 2020

When Joaquin gave his speech, after accepting the Best Actor award, it was so moving that I had to write a poem in his honor.

But I also thought people ought to be able to read his words, and so I placed them here, on this site. Regards.


"I'm full of so much gratitude right now. And 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.

"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 are 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. 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.


"I think that we've become very disconnected from the natural world and many of us, what we're guilty of, is an egocentric world view -- the belief 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, 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. And I think we fear the idea of personal change because we feel we have to sacrifice something, to give something up. But human beings, at our best, are so inventive and creative and ingenious. And I think that when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can create, develop and implement systems of change that are beneficial to all sentient beings and to the environment.


"Now, I have been a scoundrel in my life. I've been selfish. I've been cruel at times. Hard to work with. And I am grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that's when we're at our best when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes but when we help each other to grow, when we educate each other, when we guide each other toward redemption. That is the best of humanity.


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



Below is a poem I wrote to honor Joaquin and his very moving words.

You stood so tall, and through it all
We could not help but think
That all these years of Waiting's tears
Were just a momentary "blink."

For there you were, embattled, Sir,
Within with message strong.
And you forsook the usual hook
Of speaking just to "get along."

You warned us each of horrid leech
That Greed becomes, when hale.
It takes away Compassion's sway,
And leads what's Right to surely fail.

You bid us Love, and like the dove
Of Peace you nearly wept;
For you could see the great mle
Of righteous values long unkept.

Oh, please do bow, for sitting now
Within our grateful breast
Is confidence that innocence
Of Hate is when we're truly blessed!

© Paul L. White


You can view the speech on YouTube by clicking this link. Way to go, Joaquin!




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