Many had predicted Joaquin Phoenix was going to win the best actor Oscar. What they couldn't predict was what he would do with his 45 seconds on stage. After all, when he won at the BAFTAs he discussed systemic racism in the entertainment industry, when he won at the Golden Globes he called out his fellow celebrities for their use of private jets, when he won at the Critics' Choice Awards he discussed gun violence, and after he won at the SAG Awards he hurried off to a vigil for pigs about to be slaughtered. Oh, did we say 45 seconds? Phoenix's Oscars acceptance speech, which you can watch in full here or read in full here, actually went on for nearly 4 minutes, and the reactions to it ran the gamut from annoyed to baffled to laudatory. A sample:
- The Daily Beast calls the speech "a meandering address that managed to touch on human selfishness, artificial bovine insemination, and the actor’s late brother, River Phoenix." Laura Bradley notes that the part about artificially inseminating cows was "a little strange," and deems the speech overall "wild."
- The cow line in question: "We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and steal her baby, even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable," said Phoenix. "Then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal."