William, 37, and Phoenix, 45, spoke while attending the 73rd British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday, February 2. During their interaction, the Duke of Cambridge praised the four-time nominee’s performance in Joker and confessed that he was cautious about when he chose to watch the film.
“Lovely to meet you. I absolutely loved the Joker. It was brilliant,” the royal said. “I put it off and put it off before watching it, as people kept telling me, ‘Be careful when you choose to watch it.’”
William continued, “I’m glad I didn’t watch it before bed, but huge congratulations on an amazing performance.”
In response, the Gladiator actor also showered William with praise regarding his onstage address to attendees and viewers. “Thank you for your speech,” Phoenix said.
Earlier that evening, William took the BAFTAs stage to deliver a speech as part of his role as the organization’s president. While he joked about Netflix’s The Crown, he took a moment to speak on the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.
“In 2020, and not for the first time in the last few years, we find ourselves talking again about the need to do more to ensure diversity in the sector and in the awards process,” he said on Sunday. “That simply cannot be right in this day and age!”
Like William, Phoenix discussed the importance of recognizing actors of color while accepting the Lead Actor award for Joker. He noted how “honored and privileged” he was to have won, but he also took the opportunity to speak out on “systemic racism” since no person of color was nominated in this year’s acting categories.
“BAFTAs have always been supportive of my career and I’m deeply appreciative. But I have to say, that I also feel conflicted because so many of my fellow actors that are deserving don’t have that same privilege,” he began. “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 admitted to being “ashamed” that he was “part of the problem,” adding: “I think that it is the obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it, so that’s on us.”Listen on Spotify to Watch With Us to hear more about your favorite shows and for the latest TV news!
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