When you’re imagining winning your first Oscar, you’d probably expect your parents to be proud, tearful and happy. In Daniel Kaluuya’s case, the reality included some other emotions too – confusion and bemusement, to name just two.
It was all going so well. The actor collected his award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Fred Hampton in Judas And The Black Messiah with thoughtfulness and personality. He thanked the Black Panther Party member for his work, called on Hollywood to keep doing the work to bring about change and was endearingly caught a little off guard by his win.
Perhaps it was that which led to the unexpected twist his speech took, or perhaps the fact there was no band to play winners off after their allotted time was up. Thank god that was the case, though, because if this had been a normal year the orchestra would have been crashing over Kaluuya’s words, drowning out an iconic moment of Oscars history.
After noting that he himself would get back to doing the work he reminded everyone in the room still needed to be done on Tuesday, the freshly-minted winner explained that he would be taking the time to make the most of his victory. “We’ve got to celebrate life, man,” he noted. “We’re breathing, we’re walking – it’s incredible.”
— Ryan Schocket (@RyanSchocket) April 26, 2021
And then, the fatal twist. “My mum, my dad… they had sex!” He told the crowd at LA’s Union Station, while the cameras quickly cut to his mum and sister watching from the special hub that had been set up in London. The smile on his mum’s face quickly changed from pride to bewilderment, while his sister put her head in her hands. As she hid from the cameras, Mother Kaluuya could clearly be seen asking the question on everyone’s lips: “What’s he talking about?”
Also, this was the world when Joaquin announced that soul-crushing #Oscars Best Actor upset…
— Lanford Beard (@lanfordbeard) April 26, 2021
Me, at faculty meetings… https://t.co/kG9fbZzOJN
— Jennifer Richeson (@jaricheson) April 26, 2021
The memeification process works quick these days. Expect Kaluuya’s mum to be popping up on all your social media feeds over the next few days and beyond, her exasperated face being used to reflect as many puzzling situations as the internet can think of.
Her reaction might be Oscars gold, but so was her son’s speech – somehow managing to fly from one end of the spectrum to the other and embarrass his parents in front of the world in a matter of seconds. If that doesn’t deserve to go down in history as one of the best Oscars speeches of all-time, we don’t know what does.