The Oscar speech that got away

Barry Jenkins reveals what he had planned to say.

by Jennie Kermode

Mahershala Ali in Moonlight
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Winning an Oscar is a once in a lifetime experience for most of the directors who get there, so those who are nominated spend a long time practising their speeches. All of that went up in smoke for Moonlight's Barry Jenkins, who won his Oscar unexpectedly after the now famous mistake at this year's event. Now, speaking to Hollywood Reporter, he has revealed the speech he would have made if he had won under normal circumstances.

"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," he had planned to say.

"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, realising dreams you never allowed yourself to have. Much love."

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