Viola Davis and others thank Joaquin Phoenix for his BAFTA speech

Celebrities of color head to social media to salute the 'Joker' star for challenging 'systemic racism' in the film industry and at award shows

Viola Davis is here for Joaquin Phoenix’s BAFTA speech where he drew attention to “systemic racism” in the film industry.

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Viola Davis is here for Joaquin Phoenix’s BAFTA speech where he drew attention to “systemic racism” in the film industry.

READ MORE: ‘Joker’ star Joaquin Phoenix blasts ‘systemic racism’ in film industry during BAFTAs speech

Davis, who won a British Academy Film Award in 2017 for her role in Fences, thanked Phoenix for his “honesty, solidarity and courage,” according to a tweet she posted before adding “well done.”

Director Lulu Wang, who made The Farewell, also thanked Phoenix for his stand, as did Alma Har’el, director of last year’s film Honey Boy, who tweeted: “Correct me if I’m wrong but this is the first time… In a long time… I see a white man use the stage he’s given to say what we all need to hear. We mostly hear women speak up and this is encouraging and will help our work. Thank you Joaquin.”

LaToya Morgan, writer for Shameless and The Walking Dead, said Phoenix demonstrated for others “how you use your time & platform. Well said, Joaquin. Well said,” according to her tweet.:

Phoenix won the best actor award for his portrayal of the Joker at this year’s British Academy Film Awards and when he came up to the podium to accept his award, he unleashed on the lack of diversity of those nominated for awards. He said while he was “honored” to be presented with the award, he was also “conflicted” about other deserving actors and actresses of color who were ignored by the academy.

“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 in ways that we benefit from,” Phoenix said.

READ MORE: Joaquin Phoenix fans came for Beyoncé on social media for not standing when he won a Golden Globe

When the British Academy announced this year’s nominees, there were no actors or actresses of color in the four-film lead or supporting actor or actress categories. Additionally, the British Academy failed to nominate a single female director, leaving five white men vying for the title.

The Oscar nominees followed the same disturbing trend, with mostly white men leading each of the major award categories.