Los Angeles: Actor Joaquin Phoenix's Golden Globes acceptance speech was laden with expletives, call for action on climate change and certain moments of reflection in a rambling address.

The Hollywood star took home the golden gong for the best actor in a motion picture - drama for his performance in "Joker", directed by Todd Phillips.

Phoenix started his speech thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) for its "bold move" of serving a vegan feast at the award ceremony.

The decision to serve a vegan feast at the Golden Globes was made out of concern for climate change, the HFPA said earlier this week.

The actor then gave a shout-out to his fellow nominees.

"We all know there's no f****** competition between us. It's like thing that is created to sell advertisements for the TV show. I'm inspired by you.... f******

"I can't believe the beautiful, mesmerising, unique work that you have all done this year. I really do feel honoured to be mentioned with you," he said.

Phoenix added he earlier reached out to some of the fellow nominees personally, some he is still "intimidated" by.

"Even though we share the same agent, 'Hi Christian' (Bale). You're not here," he said about the actor, who didn't attend the ceremony due to illness.

He thanked Phillips and called the "Joker" director for being an "amazing friend and collaborator".

Phoenix, known for being notoriously moody, acknowledged that he can be "a pain in the a**".

"I cannot believe you put up with me. I'm so indebted to you," he said.

The actor, who is engaged to his "Mary Magdalene" co-star Rooney Mara, also gave a sweet nod to her: "Rooney, I love you".

"Contrary to popular belief, I don't

want to rock the boat. But the boat is f****** rocked," Phoenix said in a statement partially redacted by network censors.

He also called out Hollywood to walk the talk on voting and climate change.

"Nice that many people have sent their well wishes to Australia. But we have to do more than that. I've not always been a virtuous man, I'm learning so much. So many of you in this room have given me the opportunities to get it right. I'm deeply grateful but I think together we can be unified and actually make some changes.

"It's great to vote but sometimes we have to take that responsibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives. I hope that we can do that we don't have to take private jets to Palm Springs sometimes or back, please, he said.

"I'll try to do better and I hope you will too," Phoenix added.

In a backstage interview, the actor opened by telling the crowd that he was "tricked" by his PR team for making an appearance post the acceptance speech.

On being asked how he prepped for "Joker", he shot back saying, "I've answered this for six months" and elaborated on the character.

Phoenix later scratched his head and turned the questions on the crowd.

"Have you guys been sitting here all night? Do they bring you food? Do you have drinks?"

Asked about the HFPA's decision to serve vegan food only this year in the ballroom, the actor said, "This is the first time I've ever eaten the food at this ceremony."

"I thought it was excellent. I was so moved by the decision to make tonight plant-based. It's such an important statement," he added.

"My publicist is telling me I need to go home. Thank you. Thank you very much," he finished.

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