British actor Daniel Kaluuya was up against LaKeith Stanfield, his co-star in director Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah — the former for his turn as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Black Panther Party in Chicago, and the latter as William O’Neal, who became a Panther informant for the FBI — but many predicted Kaluuya would take home the Oscar, especially after winning both a BAFTA and Golden Globe for the role. And once his win for Best Supporting Actor was announced, he didn’t disappoint with his enthusiastic acceptance speech.
“Bro, we out here!” he began, before acknowledging the work of his Stanfield, Dominique Fishback, who played Hampton’s girlfriend Deborah Johnson, and the late Chairman Hampton: “He was on this Earth for 21 years … and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, give free medical care against all the odds. The Black Panther Party, they showed me how to love myself,” he said, adding that it “ain’t a single man’s job” to continue Hampton’s legacy of radical change and racial equality: “We all got work to do.”
After announcing that he was ready to celebrate — “because tonight I’m going up!” — Kaluuya then dropped the bombshell line of the night: “It’s incredible. My mom and my dad had sex, and I’m here! It’s incredible!”
The camera cut to his mother and sister in the audience — who had their own astonished reactions.