That was my poor attempt at a play on If Beale Street Could Talk, but seriously, no one talks like Regina King. In an award season that refuses to give us a break from insufferable, worse-than-Hathaway twee speeches from Lady Gaga (I like Gaga but can she DO LESS please?), we’ve been saved by Regina King. Regina and Viola Davis should teach classes on how to give great acceptance speeches.
Regina was clearly rattled and nervous and still, she gave the best speech of the night. She started by thanking Barry Jenkins. I’m going to, as Regina did, give some of the people that are responsible for this film the respect and acknowledgment that they deserve. Barry Jenkins has been largely overlooked in the Best Director categories this awards season. Imagine watching Green Book AND If Beale Street Could Talk and thinking that Peter Farrelly earned ANYTHING over Barry Jenkins? Imagine. Barry won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, but that award wasn’t televised apparently so we could watch Cole Sprouse accept an award on behalf of the cast of The Favourite. Can you tell I’m mad about Barry’s snubs? Like I’ve BEEN saying, If Beale Street Could Talk is such a beautifully affecting piece of art that is unlike any black love story I have ever seen on screen. Ever. I don’t understand how Barry Jenkins is not getting more attention. But thanks to Regina, Barry got his moment on the broadcast.
She also had a moment with Stephan James as she walked up to the stage that hit me so hard. I’ve already told you multiple times that I’m proud of Stephan James like he’s my friend or family member, not like he’s just a person I’ve produced a couple times and profiled once (shameless plug). When Regina passed by Steph and his brother Shamier, who were standing front and center, I screamed. These are two kids from Scarborough, Ontario. They’re now at the Critic’s Choice Awards sitting at Julia Roberts’s table while Stephan is getting thanked by Regina King. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
As Regina went on to thank the rest of the Beale Street cast, I was worried she was going to forget Kiki Layne. I don’t know why I ever doubted Regina King. She saved Kiki for last.
“… all led by the beautiful Kiki Layne. You are extraordinary – absolutely extraordinary. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you my dear. I love you dearly.”
What do I have to do in my life to get Regina King to say something even an ounce as wonderful as this to me? I want Regina King saying “you are extraordinary” to be my alarm clock every morning. I need to start my day with that energy.
Finally, Regina thanked James Baldwin.
“Thank you for being the voice for the voiceless – for educating a country even when they didn’t want to learn a lesson. For still educating us posthumously. I’ll leave you with this: in the words of James Baldwin, ‘we can make America what America must become.’”
Whew. A word. Every time Regina King gives an acceptance speech, I wonder how she’s going to top it. I wonder how she’s going to come to the next one and be just as poignant and sincere. Then she comes through every time. We’re at the point in awards season where clear Oscar frontrunners are pulling ahead. Regina King is a frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress. With every speech, she is making her case stronger to the Academy. Not only do they get to vote for a brilliant performance, they’re casting a vote for an unforgettable moment on that Oscar stage because when Regina King talks, the whole room listens.