‘Moonlight’ Director Waited A Year To Give His Oscar Speech, But Its Message Still Matters

"They see in me the dream I never allowed myself to have."

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It's been more than a year since the controversial Oscar moment when La La Land was accidentally awarded Best Picture instead of Moonlight. While another Academy Awards ceremony has since come and gone, the moment is still being talked about. While giving a keynote address at this year's SXSW Festival, however, director Barry Jenkins was finally able to give his acceptance speech in front of a crowd and provide new insight into its sentiments.


"I'm going to read something that I never read out loud before," Jenkins told the SXSW crowd before launching into the speech, the text of which was he released after last year's ceremony. After likening himself and the film's co-writer Tarell Alvin McCraney to the film's main character Chiron, Jenkins then read one of the speech's most poignant statements. "You certainly don't think he will grow up to win Best Picture," he read. "I've said that a lot, and what I 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 later returned to that statement, recalling when members of the community stopped to watch the filming process while on Moonlight's set in Miami's Liberty Square Projects. "I turn and look back at one point and I see all these kids who are normally running through my shot," he told his audience. "They're sitting at video village, they're literally sitting in our chairs." After re-reading the part of his speech about denying himself his dream, he shared the revelation he had. "They see in me the dream I never allowed myself to have," he said, "If I cried that night it wasn't because we won Best Picture. I cried because I realized I denied myself that dream for so long that I didn't even recognize it when, through the help of my friends, I was able to give that dream to someone else."

While this sentiment definitely resonated with those in the crowd and others, there still seems to be sentiment that the director and the cast of Moonlight should've been given an opportunity to take the Oscars stage once again at this year's ceremony, especially considering that last year's Best Picture presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were invited back to do the honors once again. However, in an interview with Deadline, host Jimmy Kimmel revealed that the opportunity had been discussed but ultimately rejected. "We offered them a moment," Kimmel said. "And they said, it's okay. We're fine. We gave our speech when we won the Oscar and we're okay leaving it at that."

Televised or not, the director's speech emphasizes that the only limits that are placed on someone's dreams are the ones they give themselves.

(H/T: CNN)


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