Joaquin Phoenix Thanks Heath Ledger In Acceptance Speech For Joker At SAG Awards

by : Cameron Frew on : 20 Jan 2020 07:44
Joaquin Phoenix Thanks Heath Ledger In Acceptance Speech For Joker At SAG AwardsJoaquin Phoenix Thanks Heath Ledger In Acceptance Speech For Joker At SAG AwardsTNT/Warner Bros.

As Joaquin Phoenix scooped another award for his performance in Joker at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, he thanked his Clown Prince of Crime predecessor: Heath Ledger. 

Back in 2009, Ledger was posthumously awarded the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his barnstorming, iconic turn in The Dark Knight. For many, it’s considered to be the best villain performance of the 21st century, if not all time.

The role of Batman’s arch nemesis has long been attached to prestige actors, from Jack Nicholson to Mark Hamill. Phoenix’s take in Todd Phillips’ Joker has attracted similar love around the world, but he hasn’t forgot to acknowledge the brilliant actor who blazed the trail for comicbook characters to take home awards.

Warner Bros.

Phoenix is almost guaranteed to win Best Actor at the upcoming Academy Awards, with a steady string of victories at the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards and now the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs).

During his acceptance speech at the ceremony last night, January 19, Phoenix said: 

I’m standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor, Heath Ledger, so thank you and goodnight.


Beforehand, the 45-year-old turned his attention to his fellow nominees, individually celebrating their talents. Praising Rocketman‘s Taron Egerton, he said he was ‘so beautiful in this movie and I’m so happy for you and I can’t wait to see what else you do’.

He also heralded Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver, arguably his biggest competition in the run-up to the Oscars. Phoenix said: ‘I’ve been watching you the last few years and you’ve been turning in these beautiful, nuanced, incredible profound performances. I’m so moved by you and you were devastating in this film, you should be here.’

Adam Driver SAG AwardsAdam Driver SAG AwardsTNT

Leonardo DiCaprio, nominated for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, got a particularly touching nod, with Phoenix saying: 


Going to auditions, I’d get the final callback, and there would always be two other guys I was against, and we’d always lose to this one kid. No actor would ever say his name cause it was too much but every casting director would whisper: ‘It’s Leonardo.’

Leo, you’ve been an inspiration to me and so many other people for 25 years. Thank you very, very much.

You can watch the full acceptance speech below: 

He also took time to laud Christian Bale in Le Mans ’66 (Ford v Ferrari), saying: ‘Christian, you commit to your roles in ways I could only dream of. You never turn in a bad performance, it’s infuriating, I wish you’d suck just one time, it would be great.’


The 92nd Academy Awards will take place on February 9.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Awards shows, Film, Heath Ledger, Joaquin Phoenix, Joker, Oscars, SAG Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards