Despite the biggest upset of the night, the award of “Green Book” winning Best Picture at the 2019 Academy Awards and earning a collective gasp of utter shock inside the press room filled with journalists from around the world, the 91st Academy Awards brought the Blackness and with it, the crowning of a new, thespian queen — Regina King. #OscarsSoBlack? Yes, we’re blessed.
Here are edited excerpts from Oscar winner Regina King’s acceptance speech inside the press room.
Los Angeles Sentinel: Regina, congratulations.
Regina King: Thank you.
LAS: How sweet was it to have your mom there in the front row with you? Obviously, you gave much praise to her during your acceptance speech. What did it mean to you to have her there tonight?
RK: It’s hard to, like, put it in words really quickly. I feel like kind of like one of those full circle moments because so much of the character Sharon Rivers was mapped or inspired by my mother and my grandmother. So to have her there, my family was there, my sister, Reina, my son, Ian, were there. They are both here tonight. And it goes by so fast, and you want to thank so many people, and your mind just goes blank. And, you know, my mom was like the lighthouse right there. And … mmm, just everything.
LAS: What is the film adaption of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” really about, to you?
RK: It’s about Love. Persevering. I mean, “If Beale Street Could Talk” is a beautiful film, a beautiful novel before it was [thank you] before it was a film you might be clapping for somebody else, but I’m going to take that. Thank you. And where we are to your point, where we are right now, I think that’s it’s a film that breaks through a lot of the sections that exist right now. You know, love is that thing that pushes us through trauma. You know, this is an urban tragedy, but tragedy is something that is experienced no matter what sex you are, no matter what race you are; and love and support is usually what pushes us through, which gets us to the other side. So, I think this film is so needed right now because we need a lot of help getting through the other side and seeing how much we are alike. We are different in a lot of ways. Absolutely. Our circumstances are so different; but it’s to the core, to the core, we are really a lot alike.
LAS: 400 years ago this year in 1619, the first slaves were brought to Jamestown. Talk to me a little bit about what it means to stand here today winning your first Academy Award, the same place where, you know, Hattie McDaniel, and so many others who may have been discounted?
RK: Well, I mean, it’s I mean, I think it kind of piggybacks on what we were just saying in the last question: That it means so much for me personally, because you guys aren’t able to witness this, but the love and support and the lifting up that I have received on my journey as an actor in just this last five months, how many people have been rooting for me, and it has not just been Black people; although, you know, the Black family has always lifted me. But it’s just a reminder of when Hattie McDaniel won. She didn’t win just because Black people voted for her. She won because she gave an amazing performance. And especially then, the Academy was not as reflective as it is now. We are still trying to get more reflective, still trying to get there. But I feel like I’ve had so many women that have paved the way, are paving the way, and I feel like I walk in their light, and I also am creating my own light. And there are young women that will walk in the light that I’m continuing to shine and expand from those women before me. You know, I’m blessed and highly favored.
LAS: “If Beale Street Could Talk” was a very important part of American literature before this movie. What do you think James Baldwin would say right now and feel about this win and about the movie?
RK: I think one word, something that he would say often, amen.