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Daniel Kaluuya’s Acceptance Speech Was a Glorious Rollercoaster

His mom was not prepared for this.

Daniel Kaluuya, looking stylish, holding his Oscar
Handout/Getty Images

When Daniel Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars on Sunday night, for his turn as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, it was already bound to be a highlight. Kaluuya is one of our best young actors, and he’s also one of awards season’s most eloquent speakers, as his speeches earlier this year have already shown.

But true Kaluuya heads know he’s also freakin’ hilarious. (Never forget that one of his first big roles was as the sex-obsessed “Posh Kenneth” on the raunch teen dramedy Skins.) And thankfully, he showed both of these sides in his sprawling, unpredictable, and ultimately winning speech.


Over the course of nearly four minutes (the producers have apparently decided not to have the music play anyone off this year), he began with the usual thankyous, including to his mother and sister, who were his plus-ones, before turning to remembering the man he portrayed. “He was on this Earth for 21 years … and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, give free medical care against all the odds,” he said, adding, on a more personal note, “The Black Panther Party, they showed me how to love myself.” He also impressed upon the audience that continuing Hampton’s legacy of radical change and racial equality “ain’t a single man’s job.” Instead, he said, “We all got work to do.”


But from there, he let loose. He’s not going back to work until Tuesday morning, he said, “because tonight I’m going up!” Running with those vibes, excited to celebrate, Kaluuya then dropped the best line of the night: “It’s incredible. My mom and my dad had sex, and I’m here! It’s incredible!” Cut to his mom in utter shock and disgust as his sister held her face in her hands:

Kaluuya's mom crumples her face and says "What is he talking about?" while his sister holds her head in her hands
ABC / Screengrab from YouTube

Kaluuya might be an Oscar winner now, but he’s definitely getting a serious talking-to later tonight. And then he can turn it up.

Read more in Slate about the Oscars.

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