Regina King kicked off the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday night with movie-style opening credits before delivering a powerful speech in the wake of Derek Chauvin’s trial (and guilty verdict).
In an effort to freshen up the three-hour-long show, director Steven Soderbergh was brought on as one of the ceremony’s producers, and his stamp was all over the opening shot, wherein King glamorously strutted through Union Station in Los Angeles as the names of the night’s presenters flashed on screen.
King, whose feature directorial debut One Night in Miami is up for three awards, then emerged on stage at the Dolby Theatre, taking a slight slip as she began her speech.
“We are here to celebrate that this was indeed a hard year for everyone, but our love of movies helped to get us through,” King told the small audience. “It made us feel less isolated; it connected us when we were apart.”
The actress then got political when she addressed Chauvin’s guilty verdict in the killing of George Floyd. “I have to be honest, if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots,” she said.
“As a mother of a Black son, I know the fear so many live with, and no amount of fame or fortune changes that. But tonight, we are here to celebrate. This was a hard year for everyone, but our love of movies got us through.”
King quickly set the record straight about how the awards ceremony was pulling off an in-person show, explaining, “People have been vaxxed, tested, retested.”
“So, just like on a movie set, when we’re rolling, masks off. And when we’re not rolling, masks on.”