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Joaquin Phoenix honors Heath Ledger in touching SAG Awards speech for Joker

During his acceptance speech, Phoenix pays tribute to the former Joker actor.

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Actor Joaquin Phoenix gives fans a new, sadder look at the DC Comics villain in the 2019 movie Joker. 

Warner Bros. Pictures

When Joaquin Phoenix took home the SAG Award Sunday for his performance as Arthur Fleck/Joker in Joker, he was quick to thank a previous actor who portrayed the popular DC Comics villain on the big screen.

As he accepted his SAG statuette for outstanding performance by a male actor, Phoenix paid tribute to the late, great Heath Ledger, who played the Joker in 2008's The Dark Knight. Ledger's performance of the Joker earned him an Academy Award for best actor in a supporting role.

"I'm standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor Heath Ledger," Phoenix said. 

This award marks the second for Phoenix for his performance as Joker. He previously won a Golden Globe. Phoenix is also nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award, to name a few.

Fans online saluted Phoenix for honoring Ledger, who died in 2008. 

"Joaquin Phoenix mentioning Heath Ledger was amazing!" one fan tweeted. "Thank you for acknowledging who inspired you to play this role."

Tweeted another, "I love that Joaquin ended his SAG Awards speech by honoring his friend and favorite actor, Heath Ledger."