Cementing his momentum toward an Oscar win for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah, Daniel Kaluuya picked up the first award of 2021’s socially distant Golden Globes in the supporting actor category. But to everybody’s visible shock and horror, Kaluuya’s audio didn’t come through as he started to give his acceptance speech from a remote video link. For folks who may have experienced the classic pandemic pastime of forgetting to unmute themselves on a work Zoom, the visual of Kaluuya’s soundless call will be very familiar.
It was only after presenter Laura Dern, with a pained smile and congratulations to Kaluuya, threw back to host Amy Poehler, that Kaluuya’s audio quickly came through. “You did me dirty!” he shouted at the camera before launching into his full speech. There was no band to play him off, and so he got to speak at length about what it meant for him to win for his portrayal of slain Black Panther Fred Hampton.
Technical glitches at awards shows in the time of COVID are to be expected, but the Kaluuya flub landed all the more painfully given the recent controversy surrounding the HFPA’s complete lack of Black voting members, as well as the number of Black-led films that were shut out of the nominations entirely. Kaluuya’s win came right after a scorching monologue from Poehler and cohost Tina Fey in which they held the HFPA’s feet over the fire for failing to fully represent the films on offer in 2020.
Once Kaluuya was able to speak, however, his words were eloquent and sincere. He thanked his “leader and general,” director Shaka King, “for your inspiration.” Kaluuya is a front-runner to win an Oscar later this year, so he may have a chance to have another go at that speech. Next time, hopefully, without the glitch.
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