Joaquin Phoenix used his Bafta speech to address issues of diversity and reputation, calling out 'systemic racism' in the movie industry. 

The 45-year-old took home a Bafta for his critically-acclaimed performance in Joker, and used his speech highlight the fact that not a single person of colour was nominated for a Bafta acting category.

It was something that had not gone unnoticed, with the all-white acting nominees announced by Bafta last month causing uproar, with the hashtag #BaftasSoWhite trending. 

During his speech, Phoenix said he felt conflicted by his victory “because so many of my fellow actors who are deserving don’t have that same privilege”.

He said: “We send a very clear message to people of colour that ‘you’re not welcome here.”

“I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment,” continued Phoenix. “People just want to be acknowledged and appreciated and respected for their work.

READ MORE: Baftas 2020: Who were the winners and losers

“I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem because I’ve not ensured that the sets I’ve worked on are inclusive.

He added: “We have to do the hard work to truly understand systemic racism. It is the obligation of the people who have created and benefit from the system of oppression to be the ones to dismantle it. So that’s on us.”

The speech was met with much praise with 

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis tweeting: "Thank you Joaquin Phoenix. For your honesty, solidarity AND courage. Well done" 

Both host Graham Norton and awards presenter Rebel Wilson took aim at the lack of diversity being celebrated.