Oscars 2017: Read the moving speech Moonlight director Barry Jenkins was meant to give for Best Picture

'Let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself'

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Though the great Oscars gaffe - which saw La La Land mistakenly named the Best Picture winner instead of Moonlight - made for a memorable close to the evening, it's important over the coming days and weeks to remember how historic a win Moonlight is in its own right.

Moonlight is the first Best Picture winner centered on an LGBTQ character, as well as being the lowest-budgeted; while many others have noted how it breaks out of the Academy's usual trend of only honouring black-dominated films that deal primarily with racism, in the likes of 12 Years a Slave or Driving Miss Daisy

A momentousness somewhat lost in the confusion, robbing the Moonlight creators from a real opportunity to make their speeches in full. Director Barry Jenkins, for example, writes in The Hollywood Reporter that he had only planned a very short speech, since Best Picture is more traditionally considered a producer's award; but one that proves deeply moving, nonetheless.

"Tarell [Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron. We are that boy," the speech reads. "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."


The ceremony saw presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway mistakenly name La La Land the Best Picture winner - instead of real winner Moonlight - after being handed the wrong envelope, though eagle-eyed viewers soon noticed that the envelope Beatty was handed was, in fact, labelled 'Actress in a Leading Role', which itself went to La La Land's Emma Stone. 

Accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, who for 83 years have been in charge of keeping the secrecy around the night's winners, keep the envelopes used in the ceremony locked in two identical briefcases - featuring two identical sets of envelopes, handled by employees Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz.

Moonlight's Barry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney make inspiring speech for Oscars screenplay win

PwC released a statement explaining Cullinan mistakenly handed the back-up Best Actress envelope instead of Best Picture, which many have speculated was due to Cullinan being distracted tweeting.

Academy President Cheryl Isaacs Boone has since stated both Cullinan and Ruiz will not be working any future Oscars.

Comments