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Moonlight director Barry Jenkins reads the Oscars acceptance speech he never got to give

Nick Duffy March 14, 2018

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins (Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has read the Oscars acceptance speech he was so publicly prevented from giving.

The film, a loving portrait of a gay African-American man, was the winner of Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards – but the moment will mostly be remembered for a mix-up that saw La La Land erroneously named the winner.

Barry Jenkins, the director of Moonlight, has spoken previously about how the famous fail robbed him of the moment to deliver the acceptance speech he had planned, having been called up on stage only after several La La Land crew members had made speeches.

But Jenkins attempted to right the wrong this week at the SXSW film festival – where he got his first creative break as a young filmmaker a decade ago.

(Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)

Stepping onto the stage, the filmmaker said he would like to use the moment to “read something” to the audience – without initially revealing what it was.

In the speech he paid tribute to Tarell Alvin McCraney, the playwright whose work Moonlight is based on, and spoke about the importance of self-acceptance.

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

He said: “Tarell 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 — certainly don’t think he would grow up to win Best Picture.

“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.”

The speech is a far cry from the one Jenkins was able to give on the night, where he mainly addressed the mix-up and attempted to smooth over the incident.

The pastor who preached at Trump’s inauguration previously claimed that Oscar-winning film Moonlight is an attempt to convince young people to make “homosexual lifestyle choices”.

The comments come from Franklin Graham, one of the pastors invited to preach to millions during Donald Trump’s inauguration ceremony.

He claimed: “Many who had never heard of the film Moonlight, which received best picture, have heard of it now. From the reviews I have read, Moonlight portrays a young gay African American coming of age and it stereotypes him as violent, a drug dealer, and a convict.

“Hollywood is notorious for glorifying sin. This is just another example of the LGBT’s agenda to make lifestyle choices that God defines as sin seem more and more culturally acceptable. I warn families and the church–don’t allow your young people to be sucked into Hollywood’s dark plan.

“We love all people, but we have to be honest about sin’s consequences. Sin is sin—it doesn’t matter if it gets an Oscar or not.”
Given Graham apparently hasn’t watched the film he is attacking, it’s no surprise he completely mangles both the plot and his own argument.

For one thing, the main character Chiron does not make “homosexual lifestyle choices”. He gets an awkward handjob on the beach as a teenager and then abstains from sex for the rest of the film.

The film also does not glorify drugs, portraying the shocking harm they do to the local community. And as for convincing “young people” to be “sucked into” the dark plan, it’s rated R in the US… so we’re not sure what kids it is helping to convince.

More: academy awards, cinema, Film Reviews, Gay, LGBT, Moonlight, Oscars, speech, US

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