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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Watch Barry Jenkins finally read his Best Picture acceptance speech

Illustration for article titled Watch Barry Jenkins finally read his Best Picture acceptance speechem/em
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images)

The Grand Best-Picture Fuck-Up Of 2017 was a lot of fun to watch, with the forces of good (Moonlight) triumphing over the forces of kinda-good (La La Land), but it had the net effect of robbing Barry Jenkins of his much-deserved moment in the spotlight. The iconic photo of the moment is of La La Land’s producer, after all, holding up the card with the winning title. And while all parties were cool about it after the fact, Jenkins has since admitted that, yeah, the envelope fuck-up ruined the Oscars for him. Even if he does return to that spot, it won’t be the same; it won’t be his first time, and it won’t be Moonlight.

So it’s worth taking a minute to watch his actual acceptance speech, which he took a minute to read at a SXSW panel this week.

The video clips off the beginning of the speech, but, per Deadline, the full speech was:

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, realizing dreams you never allowed yourself to have.


Jenkins delivering such a speech for a film like Moonlight would’ve been memorable in its own way, although probably slightly little less than watching the award get wrenched out of La La Land’s hands. Jenkins is currently polishing off his James Baldwin adaptation If Beale Street Could Talk, and is producing a TV adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s Pulitzer-winner Underground Railroad for Amazon, both of which will probably net him an opportunity to accept an award or two.

Clayton Purdom is a writer and editor based in Columbus, Ohio.

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