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Joaquin Phoenix honors late Heath Ledger with SAG Awards win

Joaquin Phoenix honors late Heath Ledger with SAG Awards win

By Vijay Narayan/Violet Matakibau
Tuesday 21/01/2020

Joaquin Phoenix received the award for best performance by an actor in a motion picture drama for the movie Joker during the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Phoenix spent his acceptance speech highlighting the work of his fellow nominees and also paying tribute to Heath Ledger.

Ledger famously portrayed the comic book villain in 2008's "The Dark Knight" and won numerous awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a SAG Award.

With his win, Phoenix, an Oscar nominee, is on the way to collecting the same trio of awards for the role.

CNN reports that the event's most surprising element might have been the acceptance speeches, which were virtually devoid of politics, other than Robert De Niro's remarks in receiving a life achievement honor.

The win for best foreign film "Parasite" broke up what had been a night that saw people of color entirely overlooked, as the industry comes under increased scrutiny for a lack of diversity in its awards.

Director Bong Joon Ho was shown proudly recording the cast's win from his seat in the audience.

The guild awards are watched closely for clues on how the Oscar race might turn out, but the perceived Oscar frontrunner, the World War I epic "1917," doesn't really lend itself to the "ensemble" designation, and wasn't among SAG's nominees.

Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger received the top acting prizes for "Joker" and "Judy," playing the comic-book villain and the tormented singer Judy Garland.

The supporting movie awards also went to presumed favorites, as Laura Dern and Brad Pitt claimed awards for "Marriage Story" and "Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood." (Jennifer Lopez -- overlooked by the Oscars for her role in "Hustlers" -- was among those she overcame.)

Pitt offered a humorous acceptance speech, opening by saying, "I've got to add this to my Tinder profile." He proceeded to joke that the role -- a guy who takes off his shirt with a spotty marital track record -- really wasn't much of a reach for him.

As if on cue, Pitt's ex-wife, Jennifer Aniston, later picked up a trophy for the backstage drama "The Morning Show," marking the first win for fledgling programming service Apple TV+.

The win was indicative of a night in which SAG voters spread the wealth among a variety of services. Amazon snagged its second best comedy ensemble prize for "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" as well as actor Tony Shalhoub, and added Phoebe Waller-Bridge for the Emmy-winning "Fleabag."

Netflix's history of the British Royal family, "The Crown," was crowned for the first time as best drama ensemble.

Peter Dinklage won for the first time -- after six nominations -- for HBO's "Game of Thrones."

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