More than a year after the Oscars gave Best Picture to La La Land instead of Moonlight, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has finally revealed the acceptance speech he would have given had that snafu not happened. As a keynote speaker at SXSW yesterday, Jenkins, whose first feature Medicine for Melancholy premiered at the festival ten years ago, read aloud his belated thank you to the Academy, and to scriptwriter Tarell McCraney:
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.
Forget The Shape of Water, give Moonlight Best Picture again!