Despite COVID-19, this year’s Oscars had all the glitz and glamour of the red carpet and a star-studded ceremony. But there was one thing notably missing: the orchestra.
The large orchestra that normally cues Academy Award winners as to when it’s time to wrap up their acceptance speeches (in the past, a mere 90 seconds was allotted) was not in play Sunday night at Los Angeles’ Union Station, allowing winners an unlimited amount of airtime to express their gratitude.
The unrestrained speeches allowed for heartfelt and sobering moments that made us cry and downright funny asides that made us laugh out loud (we’re looking at you, Daniel Kaluuya).
Here’s why it worked.
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Director Thomas Vinterberg memorialized his daughter
Vinterberg accepted the best international feature film award for Denmark’s “Another Round.” After thanking his cast, crew and family, Vinterberg explained that he “wanted to make a film that celebrates life” after tragically losing his 19-year-old daughter, Ida, in a car accident just four days into shooting.
“She was supposed to be in this (film),” Vinterberg said while fighting back tears. “We ended up making this movie for her as her monument. So Ida, this is a miracle that just happened and you’re apart of this miracle. Maybe you’ve been pulling some strings somewhere, but this one is for you.”
The uninterrupted platform offered space for Vinterberg to publicly grieve his daughter in an emotional, intimate speech that tugged on viewers’ heartstrings and added depth to his piece of work. Imagine an orchestra band trying to interrupt that.
Daniel Kaluuya shocked his mom
Kaluuya, who won the best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” appeared to run out of things to say after thanking the usual suspects and urging Hollywood to continue honoring Hampton’s work.
“Celebrate life, man. We are breathing, we are walking, it’s incredible,” Kaluuya said. “My mum and my dad, they had sex. It’s amazing that I’m here! So I’m going to celebrate that tonight.”
Kaluuya’s mother Damalie was in the crowd, and cameras quickly captured her shocked reaction live. As Kaluuya’s sister covered her face, his mother seemingly mouthed, “What is he talking about?”
It was a meme-able moment.
The actor may have won an Oscar statuette, but he still has to answer to his mother. And Kaluuya knows it. Backstage, the actor said he doesn’t “think my mom’s gonna be very happy.”
“Is that gonna live on? … It just came out of my mouth,” he said. “My mom’s probably gonna text me some stuff, but well, here we are, you know. I really shouldn’t have said that.”
He added that he’s “gonna avoid my phone for a bit.”
Although Kaluuya may have stuck his foot in his mouth, the moment made for great TV.