The Oscars will serve a plant-based menu, also thanks to Joaquin Phoenix

The world of cinema recognises the link between food choices and the climate crisis by offering vegan menus for awards season events, including at the most important of them all: the Oscars.

“I think sometimes we wonder what we can do in this fight against climate change, and there’s something that you can do today, right now, and tomorrow, by making a choice about what you consume”. Joaquin Phoenix, who recently starred as the main character in Todd Phillips’ Joker, made this appeal just before being arrested during an environmental demonstration organised by activist and actress Jane Fonda on the 10th of January.

Joaquin Phoenix, Jane Fonda, protest
Joaquin Phoenix was arrested while taking part in a demonstration organised by Jane Fonda © Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Phoenix has been vegan since he was three. While with his brother he saw a fish being violently killed and realised he didn’t want to contribute to similar practices, in any way. Since then he has never stopped trying to raise awareness about the importance of consumer choices. His activism has led him to being named person of the year by animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and he’s also been able to influence the world of Hollywood to the extent that the food that will offered at one of the most important award season events – the Oscars pre-party – will have a plant-based menu.

Read more: Veganism in India, how the dairy-loving country is embracing a plant-based diet

Phoenix’s Oscars pre-party will be vegan

Thanks to Phoenix’s campaigning, the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards have already offered vegan menus at their events. His influence has been such that the agency that represents him, William Morris Endeavor, has decided to offer a menu entirely free of animal products at its Oscars pre-party on the 7th of February, becoming the first ever talent agency to do so.

Catering has been entrusted to Nic’s on Beverly, a popular LA restaurant owned by Nic Adler, the Food and Beverage Curator for the Coachella music festival. The chef has designed a menu that disproves all myths about veganism causing major limitations to food choices: from burgers to spaghetti, from falafels to meatballs and even tacos, everything is completely plant-based.

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Joaquin Phoenix, Golden Globes
Thanks to Phoenix’s campaigning, the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards have already offered vegan menus at their events © Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

The Oscars menu will be plant-based too

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, have added their name to the list of events offering plant-based menus. The ceremony will take place on the 9th of February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

The food served during the nomination party and the canapés at the ceremony will be vegan. The menu for the Governors Ball, a party that takes places immediately after the ceremony during which the statues are engraved, will be mostly vegan. Vegetarian dishes, as well as fish and meat, will be available but with a smaller amount of options. Plastic bottles and containers have also been banned at all the events.

A month of initiatives in and outside Hollywood

Alongside all these initiatives, Veganuary also took place during the first month of the year. Phoenix is an ambassador for this month devoted to vegan eating that aims to raise awareness about more ethical food consumption.

Something I think isn’t oftentimes talked about in the environmental movement or in the conversation about climate change is that the meat and dairy industry is the third leading cause of climate change.Joaquin Phoenix
joaquin phoenix veganism
Phoenix has been vegan since he was three years old © Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Both within and outside the Hollywood universe, opportunities to discuss how agriculture and climate change are related have multiplied. For example, for the first time, Veganuary also took hold in Italy, promoted by animal rights organisation Essere Animali and famous cartoonist Bruno Bozzetto.

Read more: How agriculture and climate change are related: causes and effects

The shift towards more compassionate and cruelty-free foods is spreading all over the world. It’s wonderful to see events as big and popular as the Oscars trying to improve, in the hope that next year even the last few meat dishes will be taken off the menu.

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