Joaquin Phoenix Honors His "Favorite Actor" Heath Ledger After His Win at 2020 SAG Awards

Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 2020 SAG Awards on Sunday night , continuing his winning streak for his turn at Joker

By Tierney Bricker Jan 20, 2020 3:13 AMTags
Watch: Analyzing Joaquin Phoenix's Dark "Joker" Role: VidBits

No jokes, all love. 

Joaquin Phoenix continued his winning streak for his celebrated turn in Joker at the 2020 SAG Awards on Sunday night, winning the trophy in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Motion Picture category.

Phoenix beat out Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Hollywood), Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Taron Egerton (Rocketman) to nab one of the biggest awards of the night, but during his speech, Phoenix solely focused on shouting out everything he loved about each of his four competitors, and took a moment to tribute the late Heath Ledger, who won a posthumous Oscar for his turn as the Joker in The Dark Knight Rises 10 years ago.

"Really, I'm standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor, Heath Ledger," the 45-year-old actor said at the end of his speech.

Before his touching tribute to Ledger, who tragically died at age of 28 in January 2008, Phoenix took a moment to highlight something he respected about each of his fellow nominees, beginning with DiCaprio.

See the Winners of the 2020 SAG Awards

"When I started acting again...going to auditions, I always got the final callback. Many people know what that's like. There would be, like, two other guys I was up against. We would always lose to this one kid. No actor would ever say his name because it was like too much," he said. "But every casting director would say it's Leonardo. Who is this Leonardo? You know? You've been an inspiration for over 25 years to me and so many people. I thank you very very, very much."

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Turner

He then shouted out Bale, jokingly asking him to "suck just once" during his career. 

"You commit to your roles in ways that I can only dream of," he said. "You never turn in a bad performance. It's infuriating. I wish you would. One time. Just suck once. It would be great."

When it came to Driver, the Joker star gushed, "I've been watching you the last few years and you've just been turning in these beautiful nuanced, incredible, profound performances, and I'm just moved by you, and you were devastating in this film. And you should be here

Finally, he called out Egerton for his Golden Globe-winning turn as Elton John in Rocketman, saying, "You're so beautiful in this movie. And I'm so happy for you. And I can't wait to see what else you do."