joaquin phoenix oscar speech


Joaquin Phoenix riffing on cow insemination in Oscar speech is getting memed

'We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow.'


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Feb 10, 2020   Updated on May 19, 2021, 3:56 pm CDT

Joaquin Phoenix won the best actor Oscar for Joker, as predicted. Perhaps less predictable was that his acceptance speech would include him riffing on cow insemination.

Phoenix used his previous BAFTA speech to call out institutional racism, and on Oscar night, he addressed speciesism and animal rights. “I think we’ve become very disconnected from the natural world,” he said, pointing out the entitlement in taking a cow’s milk for our coffee. “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.”

He also touched on cancel culture, his own past behavior, and the people who gave him a “second chance.”

The speech took some by surprise, though Phoenix, a longtime vegan, has been doing some behind-the-scenes activism during awards season, starting with the Golden Globes going plant-based. Still, the milk thing was a tipping point.

Even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) chimed in.

“JAW DROP. Sending a HUGE congratulations to #vegan Joaquin Phoenix for winning Best Actor,” the animal rights organization tweeted. “Joaquin has dedicated his life to ending speciesism and that speech was proof that he is never afraid to speak up for ALL beings.”

In his Golden Globes speech for best actor, Phoenix also touched on veganism and climate change, subtly pivoting the awards show speech from personal reflection to personal responsibility. And… oat milk?


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*First Published: Feb 10, 2020, 12:54 am CST