Mix-Up Of Daniel Kaluuya And Leslie Odom Jr. At the Oscars Goes Viral, But Journalist Denies Mistake

Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke in One Night in Miami opposite Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah

This year’s Oscars were vastly different in every sense of the word. This year marked a record year for people of color with nominations and wins. In the Best Supporting Actor category, Judas and the Black Messiah’s Daniel Kaluuya ended up taking the win over co-star LaKeith Stanfield and One Night in Miami’s Leslie Odom Jr. Kaluuya’s Oscar win was a high point in an otherwise tame ceremony. But the Black Panther star’s moment took a turn as he was seemingly confused with fellow nominee Odom Jr. The moment went viral, leading to the journalist denying the mistake.

For Daniel Kaluuya, the Oscars was a night filled with excitement and some TMI. While Hollywood’s biggest night was a little different, the tradition of the after-win press conference still happened (virtually, of course). Daniel Kaluuya’s press conference went smoothly until the Leslie Odom Jr. snafu with one member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association occurred. Check out the viral exchange below:

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The seemingly awkward exchange between Daniel Kaluuya and journalist Margaret Gardiner appeared to be a moment of unplanned confusion. Gardiner appeared to be asking two questions at the same time. The Oscar winner appeared to be thrown off by the unusual question as seen in the video above. But the internet and media didn’t see it that way. As with many snafus, social media came after the journalist, leading her to clarify her original intent. Gardiner stated on her Twitter:

Daniel Kaluuya, I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jr. I’m sorry if it seemed that way. I had wanted to ask about Regina King not being nominated as a director for One Night in Miami, and your win for Judas and the Black Messiah for the community at this time.

But the public wasn’t satisfied with her clarification as journalist Margaret Gardiner received more social media backlash. As a response, she hopped on her Twitter again to issue a formal apology to Daniel Kaluuya. Gardiner said to the Black Panther star:

I’m sorry you assume I can’t tell these two talented men apart. I messed up my question. I won’t be believed. I apologize to Daniel, the assumption reflects the very world I wanted to ask about. I cannot defend this. I apologize.

As it was pointed out in Indiewire, journalist Margaret Gardiner appeared to realize her snafu and tried to correct it. Unfortunately, the HFPA journalist was unable to recover, leading to the viral moment. The viral moment was a downturn in an otherwise celebratory moment for the Black Panther star. And of course, the internet has thoughts.

Daniel Kalyuua and Margaret Gardiner’s exchange was another memorable moment at an otherwise bland Oscars. Per Kalyuua’s usual personality, the Oscar winner took the moment in stride. Hopefully, this moment won’t be tainted either his or the journalist's career going forward.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).