Barry Jenkins gives Oscar speech he couldn’t give when ‘Moonlight’ won Best Picture

More than a year after the Oscar snafu-to-end-all-snafus denied him the opportunity, director Barry Jenkins finally got to deliver the speech he’d planned to give when Moonlight was named Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards. According to Deadline Hollywood, when the Academy Award winner (Best Adapted Screenplay for ‘Moonlight’) took the stage to deliver the keynote at this year’s South By Southwest, he began by saying he wanted to read something to the audience. It turned out to be his heartfelt Oscar-denied acceptance speech. Check it out:

Tarell [Alvin McCraney, the film’s co-writer] 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, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have.”

Moonlight Oscar Madness

What should have been a night of triumph for Jenkins, began with his win for Best Adapted Screenplay and Mahershala’s Ali’s nod as Best Supporting Actor. Moonlight being named Best Picture should have been the high point of the ceremony but its triumph was marred when there was a mix-up with the envelopes containing the winners and La La Land was mistakenly named Best Picture. By the time the mistake was realized, Jenkins and the Moonlight team barely had time to take the stage, let alone make a speech.

Although he admitted to being disappointed, Jenkins later expressed his acceptance of the situation to The Hollywood Reporter. “Given what happened in those last 10 minutes of the ceremony, I don’t know how I managed any words at all,” Jenkins concluded. “It is what it is.”