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SAG Awards: Joaquin Phoenix pays tribute to Heath Ledger

After receiving five nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Joaquin Phoenix finally went home with his own award for Male Actor in a Leading Role. The honor was in recognition of his gripping role as Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillipps’ Joker.

The career-defining role has garnered him multiple nominations this awards season along with the film itself. So far, Phoenix bagged a Golden Globe Award and a string of critics award last year. With an extra push from SAG, the actor is almost sure to win an Academy Award for the same role.

The Oscar front-runner gave a heartfelt shoutout to his fellow nominees from the star-studded category including Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Taron Egerton (Rocketman).

Phoenix shared a little story to the audience while he was onstage about how as a young actor he “would always lose to this one kid. And no actor would say his name because it was, like, too much, but every casting director would whisper — ‘It is Leonardo. It is Leonardo.’”

While his tone was humorous in the beginning, he paid a heartfelt tribute to Heath Ledger who also won multiple awards for his take on the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.”

“Really, I am standing here on the shoulders of my favorite actor, Heath Ledger,” he said before wishing the audience a good night.

The late actor died just less than a month after filming his most iconic role which earned him a SAG Award and an Academy Award for best supporting actor.