Joaquin Phoenix wins a Golden Globe, delivers a truly Joker-esque speech

"Contrary to popular belief, I don't want to rock the boat," he says. "The boat is f---ing rocked."

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Joaquin Phoenix poses in the press room with his statue during the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Steve Granitz/WireImage

Joaquin Phoenix won a Golden Globe for best actor in a motion picture drama Sunday night for his role as the troubled Arthur Fleck in Joker. His acceptance speech got mixed reactions from actors and other audience members at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Then the social media reactions piled in, with some praising the actor, and others wondering what the heck had just happened.

In his speech, Phoenix touchingly thanked partner Rooney Mara and apologized to Joker director Todd Phillips for being "such a pain in the ass."

Some of Phoenix's speech got bleeped due to swearing. "Contrary to popular belief I don't want to rock the boat. The boat is fucking rocked," he said.

He also referenced climate change, both thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its meat-free meal, and telling his fellow actors, "We don't have to take private jets to Palm Springs ... I'll try to do better, and I hope you will too."

Some social media users applauded Phoenix's no-holds-barred thank you speech.

"Joaquin Phoenix calling out the bullshit of awards season and celebrating the work of his fellow nominees!" wrote Matt Neglia in a tweet. "Plus he breaks down while acknowledging Rooney Mara... THIS IS WHY WE LOVE HIM!!!!!!"

The orchestra interrupted Phoenix's speech, which many viewers noted. "Joaquin Phoenix, maybe the actor of his generation, calls out Hollywood, on live television, for using private jets, but then gets cut off by the orchestra," wrote Jordan Ruimy. "This is why I hate the Globes."

But some were bemused by Phoenix's rambling speech. "Joaquin Phoenix's speech is basically a blank mad lib," wrote Kristin Chirico.

With Phoenix referencing apparent Hollywood hypocrisy, many eyes were on his fellow celebrities to see how they reacted. "That room is not feeling Joaquin Phoenix's speech!" wrote Chad Darnell. "Yikes!"

Phoenix could get another shot at speechmaking. Some think his win sets him up nicely for an Academy Award on Feb. 9.

It wouldn't be the first time an actor playing the Joker has been honored. In 2009, Heath Ledger won a posthumous Academy Award for playing a very different Joker in The Dark Knight.

New Movies Coming in 2023 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

See all photos

Originally published Jan. 5.