Last night, at the 93rd Academy Awards, Daniel Kaluuya won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. The actor went on to make an impassioned acceptance speech, during which he thanked his parents for having sex and creating him.
As his speech was coming to a close, Kaluuya expressed his gratitude for life. “You got to celebrate life, man,” he told the crowd. “We’re breathing, we’re walking, it’s incredible. Like, it’s incredible, my mum met my dad… they had sex. It’s amazing. You understand, I’m here. I’m so happy to be alive, so I’m going to celebrate that tonight.”
The camera then panned to Kaluuya’s mum to get her live reaction, which was to mouth, “What is he talking about?”, as his sister put her head in her hands.
Speaking at a press conference later that night, Kaluuya responded to a journalist who said his speech would live on in infamy: “Is that going to live on? I think it’s pretty obvious that all our parents had sex. It just came out of my mouth. My mum’s probably going to text me some stuff, but here we are. I’m going to avoid my phone for a bit. I think my mum’s not going to be very happy... but she’s going to be cool. She’s got a sense of humour.”
During his three-and-a-half minute acceptance speech, Kaluuya also paid tribute to the real Fred Hampton: “What a man. How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime when he existed. Thank you for your life.”
The actor added that he shared the award with “the gift that is Lakeith Stanfield”, who was also up for Best Supporting Actor for his role as FBI informant William O’Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah. After the nominations were announced last month, there was widespread confusion about why both Kaluuya and Stanfield were up for Best Supporting Actor, rather than Stanfield getting a Best Actor nomination for playing the film’s protagonist. In a since-deleted post on Instagram, Stanfield said: “I’m confused too but fuck it lmao.”
Directed by Shaka King, Judas and the Black Messiah is a biographical drama that follows the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 60s. The story centres on O’Neal’s betrayal of the group’s leader Hampton, who gets assassinated by the police.
Watch Kaluuya’s full speech below, and check out our round-up of the best Oscars looks here, which includes Kaluuya in Bottega Veneta.