‘Moonlight’ director reveals what he wanted to say during Oscars Best Picture acceptance speech

Barry Jenkins appeared overwhelmed after the Oscars mistake

The director of Moonlight has revealed what he originally planned to say before the Oscars Best Picture mistake threw him off his acceptance speech.

The Oscars incident saw La La Land mistakenly named as Best Picture, with the cast and crew taking to the stage to accept the award – only to be informed that Moonlight had in fact won, just a matter of minutes late – much to the shock of stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Presenters Warren Beaty and Faye Dunaway were apparently given the wrong envelope.

When Moonlight director Barry Jenkins eventually took to the microphone, he was visibly overwhelmed by the situation. Speaking now to Entertainment Weekly, he has revealed what he would have said: “[Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney] and I are this kid. We are Chiron [protagonist from Moonlight]. And you don’t think that kid grows up to be nominated for eight Academy Awards. It’s not a dream he’s allowed to have. I still feel that way. I didn’t think this was possible. But now I look at other people looking at me and if I didn’t think it was possible, how are they going to? But now it’s happened. So what I think of possibility, let’s take it off the table. The thing has happened.”


Jenkins’ actual speech saw him say: “Very clearly, even in my dreams this cannot be true. But to hell with dreams, I’m done with it because this is true. Oh my goodness. It is true, it’s not fake. We’ve been on the road with these guys for so long and that was so gracious and generous of them. My love to La La Land, my love to everybody.”

He later added: “There was a time when I thought this movie was impossible but I couldn’t bring it to fruition. I couldn’t bring myself to tell another story. So everybody behind my on the stage said ‘No, that’s not acceptable.’ So I just want to thank everybody up here behind me, everybody out there in that room because we didn’t do this, you guys chose us. Thank you for the choice, I appreciate it. Much love.”

Jimmy Kimmel was host at the Oscars 2017 during the 'Best Picture' mishapGetty

Speaking to EW, Jenkins said that at the time he only wanted to give La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz a hug. Horowitz had taken it upon himself to announce that it was in fact Moonlight that were the real winners.

“Beyond that, I didn’t want to say anything,” Jenkins admits. “It was too much to process. But something must be said. It was an imperfect situation and it was an imperfect statement that didn’t come out the right way but it is what it is.”

“If I took myself out of my body and I looked at what happened, I would be inspired. I think for a long time certain narratives, certain people just weren’t considered and for the Academy to make this considerable gesture, to see through all those barriers or perceived barriers and just see the film, that’s something.”

“It will be remembered and I think in a beautiful way,” Jenkins added. “I know one thing. I’m never going to forget Jordan Horowitz. I just won’t.”


Watch Jenkins’ Oscars Best Picture acceptance speech in full below: