First Oscar for Cord Jefferson and Da’Vine Joy Randolph

“American Fiction” director Cord Jefferson and “The Holdovers” actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph are first time Oscar winners. At the 96th Oscars, Jefferson, whose film “American Fiction” was nominated for 5 Oscars, received an Oscar for Adapted Screenplay during the live ABC telecast, while Randolph was presented with an Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar.

Da’Vine Joy Randolph

“There are so many people out there who want the opportunity I was given,” Jefferson stated in his acceptance speech. Discarding the tedious and traditional speech of thanking individual friends and foe, the director instead made a plea to Hollywood in his 6-minute speech. “I understand that this is a risk-averse industry. Instead of making one $200 million movie, try making 20 $10 million movies or 50 or $4 million movies.”

Backstage, Jefferson, who has been vocal about his journey in getting the film to the big screen, talked about the importance of the award and his hopes that it would open even more doors for others like him.

“We didn’t have a huge marketing budget, so we relied on word of mouth a lot and people who liked the film telling other people they liked the film. Nobody was there for the money because we didn’t have any money. So, people were there because they believed in it. There’s an audience for different depictions of people’s lives. A story with black characters that’s going to appeal to a lot of people doesn’t need to take place on a plantation, doesn’t need to take place in the projects, doesn’t need to have drug dealers in it, doesn’t need to have gang members in it.

Jimmy Kimmel returned to host the ceremony for a 4th time and poked fun at Robert Downey Jr. and “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan whose film won 7 of the 13 awards it was nominated for including best actor for Cillian Murphy, best supporting actor for Robert Downey Jr. and best director for Nolan.

This is the first Oscar for Emma Thomas (wife and producer) and Christopher Nolan who were nominated for “Inception” in 2010 and “Dunkirk” in 2017.

Emma Stone, who received a Best Actress for her performance as Bella Baxter in “Poor Things,” won over Lily Gladstone of “Killers of the Flower Moon.” Gladstone would have become the first Native American to win an Academy Award.  “The Last Repair Shop,” by Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film. Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” won for Best Animated Feature, a surprise over “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” the likely favorite to win. “The Zone of Interest” won Best International Film.

Held at the Dolby Theater at Ovation Hollywood, presenters included Nicolas Cage, Matthew McConaughey, Forest Whitaker, Cynthia Erivo, America Ferrera, Issa Rae, Mahershala Ali, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dwayne Johnson,  Regina King, Lupita Nyong’o and  Octavia Spencer.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. Photos courtesy of A.M.P.A.S.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.