Oscar nominations are in and Jeffrey Wright has been put forward as Best Actor for his performance in American Fiction. But it's not the fact that this is his first ever nomination that’s making us emotional, it's his wholesome response and beautiful acknowledgment of his late mother.
Soon after the Oscar nomination ceremony took place on January 23, Wright was interviewed by ExtraTV and opened up about what the recognition means to him. “Everyone’s pretty proud I have to say,” said the actor before breaking down in tears, “The first person I acknowledged was my mom”. Wright then pointed to the side to a picture of his late mother, “There’s a picture of her just there, so yeah… she and I had a moment.”
The actor divulged that his mother sadly passed away a little over a year before he received the script for American Fiction, but that the film is reminiscent of his mother - and his son agrees. “My son saw the film and said ‘You know I see a lot of myself in that character you play, but it also a beautiful homage to grandma’, and I said to him 'yeah, you got it'.” said Wright, with tears in his eyes. “So, yeah, she was the first I spoke with this morning.” Watch the full clip below.
Based on the 2001 novel Erasure by Percival Everett, American Fiction follows Monk (Wright), a frustrated novelist fed up with Black entertainment relying on tired and offensive tropes. To prove a point, he writes an outlandish book of his own under a fake name, but it propels him into the fame he claims to disdain and paints him as a hypocrite. The film, directed by Cord Jefferson, also stars Erika Alexander, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Adam Brody, and Sterling K. Brown, who was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
As well as Wright and Brown’s submissions, American Fiction has also been nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Score.
The 2024 Oscars takes place on March 10. American Fiction is now out in US theaters and will be released in UK cinemas on February 2. For more Oscar coverage, see our list of every nomination for the 2024 Academy Awards or check out our guide to the upcoming movies heading your way in 2024 and beyond.