Moonlight director Barry Jenkins has earned another award, making history in the process.
Jenkins became the first Black director to win a National Board of Review Award for Best Director on Wednesday and in his speech, reminded audiences that every win like his helps break barriers, even if doing so happens a little late.
“I know exactly where I was when I found out that I was going to receive this very prestigious honor from the National Board of Review. I was at a Q&A, and [publicist] Peggy Siegal ran in and said, ‘Oh my god, Barry Jenkins, you just won Best Director from the National Board of Review!’ And she had this look on her face, and I was like, ‘Why does she look like that?’ And then she said, ‘And you’re the first black director, the first black person to ever receive that distinction,'” Jenkins told the crowd.
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Jenkins went on to discuss all the choices and names of previous talent considered for the award, then added, “Then I thought about it, and I said, ‘You know what? There were certain people who just weren’t considered. For so long, they were never considered. Until 2012, someone like Kathryn Bigelow had never been considered.'”
Jenkins continued by thanking the National Board of Review, cracking a joke while discussing America and the world’s changing landscape, before ending his speech: “You know, the country is changing, the world is changing, and you know, we’re trying to make America great again. [Audience laughs] All I’m going to say is, I’m going to take this honor as a symbol of being considered.
It’s a very considerable gesture of making America great again. And what I want to say is, I want to acknowledge this because as we make America great again, let’s remember some of the inconsiderable things in our legacy, because there was a time when somebody like me was not considered. Thank you very much.”
You can read the speech in its entirety, here.