This Is The Best Picture Speech 'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins Wanted To Give

"Let this be a symbol, a reflection that leads you to love yourself."

The most talked-about part of Sunday night's Academy Awards happened in the ceremony's final moments, when La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner of Best Picture, an honor that actually went to Moonlight

In the shock and confusion that surrounded the mix-up, director Barry Jenkins and the film's producers didn't quite get the celebratory onstage moment they deserved, and the historic nature of their win — as the first LGBTQ film and the first film with an all-Black cast to win Best Picture — risked being overshadowed by the error in the hours and days that followed.


"Very clearly, very clearly, even in my dreams this could not be true," Jenkins said when the correct winner was announced and he accepted the award. "But to hell with dreams, I'm done with it, because this is true. Oh my goodness."

But the filmmaker had more to say, and he shared the acceptance speech he would have liked to have made with The Hollywood Reporter this week, explaining that he wanted it to be brief and "personal," delivered after winners Adele Romanski and Jeremy Kleiner had spoken. As you'll see, the intended message of the speech was an inspiring one that touched on the power of the film's story.

Here's how Jenkins would have begun:

[Playwright] Tarell [Alvin McCraney] 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. 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," he continued, "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."

Jenkins told THR of how he handled the big moment, "Given what happened in those last 10 minutes of the ceremony, I don't know how I managed any words at all. It is what it is."

We're so glad Jenkins had the opportunity to share these words, even if it wasn't the ideal context.

(H/T: Huffington Post)

Cover image: Tinseltown /


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