Backstage, Geoffrey Fletcher, the first African American to win an Oscar for screenwriting, talks about his first Academy Awards® experience.
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Q: What is it like in that moment to realize you just made history?
A: It's still setting in. I assure you, last night was a blur. Oprah's over there straightening me out for leaving out Sapphire from my speech, but I think I would have had a tough time coming up with my own name. But, anyway, I still cannot believe it. And it happened at a time when I still hadn't fully wrapped my mind around the nomination. And so, to get the Oscar and still be in disbelief about the nomination…people came up to me during the show and said, "Are you nervous?" I said, "No, not really. I just came to watch a show. I'm not going to have to make any speeches or anything. This is fun. My family's here."
On the way to the theater, I told my family, "You guys, have a good time. Just please look at it that way. Don't worry about me. Everything's going to be fine. Just have a good time." And I asked my mother to try to smile when my name isn't called.
Q: So where will you keep your Academy Award?
A: I don't know yet. But I'll tell you what, if something like that happens one night, and you don't believe it, then the next morning, you talk to Oprah Winfrey, it really doesn't help to bring things back down to earth very much. So that's probably going to extend this disbelief.
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