“Moonlight” director and writer Barry Jenkins planned an acceptance speech for a then-prospective “Best Picture” win at Sunday’s (February 26) Academy Awards ceremony. Thanks to a now-infamous gaffe that led presenter Faye Dunaway to announce the incorrect winner—which was only corrected after “La La Land’s” crew took the stage—Jenkins scrapped those remarks for impromptu ones. He shared his intended words with The Hollywood Reporter yesterday (March 1).
“ ‘Best Picture’ is a producer’s award, so I didn’t plan to say much,” writes Jenkins. “Given the possibility of going up for adapted screenplay [which he won with “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney], I assumed there was a chance I wouldn’t speak at all, that I would have already said my piece.”
Jenkins adds that he planned to speak after co-producers Adele Romanski and Jeremy Kleiner. His address, reprinted in full below, touches on his and McCraney’s personal relationship to the film’s gay Black protagonist:
Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron. We are that boy. And when you watch ”Moonlight,” you don’t assume a boy who grew up how and where we did would grow up and make a piece of art that wins an Academy Award. I’ve said that a lot, and what I’ve had to admit is that I placed those limitations on myself, I denied myself that dream. Not you, not anyone else—me. And so, to anyone watching this who sees themselves in us, let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself. Because doing so may be the difference between dreaming at all and, somehow through the Academy’s grace, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have. Much love.
“That came out much differently onstage,” he adds. “Given what happened in those last 10 minutes of the ceremony, I don’t know how I managed any words at all. It is what it is.”
The remarks were also shared on “Moonlight’s” Twitter page yesterday.
The New York Times reported Tuesday (February 28) that distributor A24 expanded the film to nearly 1,5000 theaters after its “Best Picture” win.
As for the snafu that cost Jenkins his speech and almost granted “La La Land” the top honor, The Wrap published Oscars stage manager Gary Natoli’s play-by-play account of what happened. Natoli said that a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that tallies and guards Academy votes until Oscars night, accidentally gave co-“Best Picture” presenter Warren Beatty a spare “Actress in a Leading Role” envelope that had winner Emma Stone and her film, “La La Land,” on it. Beatty and Dunaway’s on-stage confusion was not rectified by a second PricewaterCoopers partner who, with her colleague, was responsible for correcting errors.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told The Associated Press yesterday that those accountants, identified as Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz, would not work for the Oscars again.