The best Oscar acceptance speeches are usually the shortest (it helps when a jet ski is involved). But every so often, there’s a speech you really want to hear. Like at the 2017 Academy Awards, when La La Land, I mean, Moonlight won Best Picture, and director Barry Jenkins wasn’t given the opportunity to read what he had prepared. Another Oscars has come and gone, but over the weekend, Jenkins revealed what he was going to say.
“[Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney] and I are Chiron,” he told an audience at SXSW on Sunday. “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.”
Jenkins continued, “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.” Much love, indeed. Add “giving speeches” to the list of things Jenkins is very good at, after “making movies” and “live-tweeting Notting Hill.”