Bossip Video

Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar-winner Cord Jefferson stood on business in his acceptance speech, challenging Hollywood to invest in more films like American Fiction than “$200 million” blockbusters.

96th Annual Academy Awards - Press Room

Source: Jeff Kravitz / Getty

It’s increasingly rare for films like American Fiction to find the budget, distribution, or star-studded cast that puts them on a national stage. Even then, many of these smaller and independent films often don’t feature Black people or don’t go beyond tired stereotypes.

When it comes to Black stories and creatives on both sides of the camera, the list is so short that we know many of them on a first-name basis: Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Issa Rae, Ava DuVernay, Ryan Coogler, Tyler Perry, Kenya Barris. However,

Cord Jefferson Pleads With Hollywood To Take Risks On 20 or 40 Smaller Films “Instead Of One $200 Million Film”

96th Annual Oscars - Show

Source: Rich Polk / Getty

Like his critically acclaimed film American Fiction, Cord Jefferson says what many of us have been thinking for years. Major studios seem scared to take a chance on new stories and storytellers. After sharing joy about the whirlwind experience as a first-time director. Jefferson pointed out that more talent deserves this feeling.

“This means the world to me. Thank you so much to the Academy, thank you so much to everybody who worked on the film,” he began.

“I’ve been talking a lot about how many people passed on this movie and discussing it and I worry that sometimes [it] sounds vindictive, and I don’t want to be vindictive, I’m not a vindictive person anymore. I’ve worked very hard to not be vindictive anymore.”

Los Angeles Premiere of MGM's

Source: Eric Charbonneau / Getty

Jefferson’s speech pleaded with executives and studios for more “risks” with “20 $10 million films” instead of pouring $200 million into blockbuster reboots and sequels. At least Jefferson’s adaptation had unique source material from the 2001 Percival Everett novel Erasure.

“And it’s more a plea — it’s a plea to acknowledge and recognize that there are so many people out there who want the opportunity that I was given…. I understand that this is a risk-averse industry, I get it,” the 40-year-old continued.

“But $200 million dollar movies are also a risk, you know? And it doesn’t always work out but you take the risk anyway. And instead of making one $200 million dollar movie, try making 20 $10 million dollar movies or 50 $4 million dollar movies. Like, you can — there are so many people, I just feel so much joy being here, I felt so much joy making this movie, and I want other people to experience that joy, and they’re out there I promise you.”

That kind of industry-wide investment can drive another film renaissance like the ’90s to find the next John Singleton or “Christopher Nolan.”

“The next Martin Scorsese’s out there, the next Greta’s out there — both Gretas, the next Christopher Nolan’s out there I promise you. They just want a shot and we can give them one and this has changed my life. Thank you all who worked on this movie for trusting a 40-year-old Black guy who has never directed anything before. It’s changed my life, thank you — I love you all, thank you so much,” he concluded.

Check out Cord Jefferson’s full Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar acceptance speech below.


American Fiction also earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Lead Actor for Jeffrey Wright, and Best Supporting Actor for Sterling K. Brown.

Congratulations to Cord Jefferson and the rest of the American Fiction team!


Bossip Comment Policy
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.