Daniel Kaluuya picked up an Oscar earlier tonight for his incredible performance in Judas And The Black Messiah. The victory was well-earned, and let the record show, his speech delivered too. The talented actor touched on a wide variety of subjects during his thank-you, including all the talented people he worked with, the tragically short life of Fred Hampton, how much work everyone has left to do in the fight for social justice and to add a little comedy, his parents having sex.
Spelled out like that, the whole thing sounds like a disorganized mess, but it was actually quite touching and had a nice flow to it. In fact, it’s probably a testament to how well the speech worked that it led to a ton of tweets about the inspiring social justice content and also a ton of tweets about the sex reference. You can check out the speech in its entirety below…
In Judas And The Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya played Fred Hampton, the Chairman of the Black Panther Party. The activist fought for better housing, better access to education and better treatment from the police, among many other things. He was killed during a police raid in Chicago in 1969. He was just twenty-one years old. The City of Chicago, Cook County and the Federal Government later paid more than a million dollars to Hampton's family and others who were killed or injured during the raid.
It's not surprising Kaluuya brought Hampton up during his speech. It's pretty common for winning actors to thank the real life person they're playing, but that's not the only way to do it. There's no single formula to create a good Oscar speech. Some people stay on topic. Some people barely talk about the movie they won for at all. Some people ramble until the orchestra plays them off (though that wasn’t an issue tonight), and some people say as little as possible (shoutout Joe Pesci). Really, the two things I look for are authenticity and trying to make some kind of connection with the audience. Kaluuya’s speech works so well because he clearly does both. He comes off as very humble, relatable and down to Earth. None of it feels like an act. Beyond that, you can really feel the audience hanging on every word.
People definitely responded very well to the content of his speech and particularly the section where he said there’s still so much work left to do. It was getting cut up and passed around social media quite a bit. And of course the sex moment was too, particularly because of the reaction shot of his mother and sister. Check out the gif below…
Daniel Kaluuya is great. He’s incredibly talented, and should have an incredibly long career ahead of him. I’m not going to preemptively predict more awards in his future because you never quite know what people will respond to, but it’s hard to imagine a future in which he’s not churning out incredible performances on a regular basis. He’s just too talented, and with a personality like this, who wouldn't want to work with him?
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