“Shut up, listen and amplify.” That’s how Kumail Nanjiani chose to end his acceptance speech at last night’s Critics’ Choice Awards. Coming off the Golden Globes where men barely acknowledged the recent seismic shift in their industry which is entirely a THEM problem, it was nice to hear a man not only address the issue but rightly call out his fellow men to do the bare minimum: “shut up, listen and amplify.”
The voices of Kumail and Emily V. Gordon, his co-writer and wife, were amplified in order to tell their story in The Big Sick. An interracial love story about illness, stand-up comedy and Pakistani culture won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Comedy (!!!!) and it wouldn’t have without the help of white men. Kumail thanked Judd Apatow and the film’s other producers like this:
'I’d like to thank all the white men who allowed us to stand here today. Truly, without you, we’d just be… not here.”
It’s hilarious but it also explicitly backs up the call-to-action Kumail makes in his final words of the speech. AMPLIFY.
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s whole remarks were easily my favourite of the night. Emily brought a napkin with her to accept her Critics’ Choice Award then promptly threw it off camera. It was so endearing it made Gal Gadot beam from the audience. Emily also thanked the doctor who “made [her] healthy enough to be here” as Kumail planted a kiss on her cheek on cue. Yep, I teared up at that. No shame. I f-cking love them so much.
I wrote about how much I loved Emily and Kumail’s movie back in June when I first saw The Big Sick. At the time, the film was getting Oscar buzz. It was completely ignored by the Golden Globes and even with this win, an Oscar nom (best chance is for Best Original Screenplay) is an outside shot but I want it for them so badly.
Through every step of The Big Sick’s award season, Kumail has made sure to amplify Emily V. Gordon’s voice. He’s the celebrity and the man so, of course, her work has been repeatedly underappreciated. In case you missed it on Twitter this week, here’s how Kumail responded to The Washington Post leaving Emily’s name out of a headline about the film.
Hey @washingtonpost. Big fan. Love what y’all do. Appreciate you covering this. Could you add my wife’s name to this headline please? She is Emily V Gordon, & not just the inspiration, but one of the writers of The Big Sick. https://t.co/H6VkeyzO83— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) January 10, 2018
I love how polite he was. The Washington Post has since updated its article to put some respect on Emily V. Gordon’s name.
These are good people. These people deserve good things. I am so genuinely happy for them.