Journalist says she ‘messed up’ Daniel Kaluuya Oscars question but denies confusing him with Leslie Odom Jr: ‘No one will believe me’

Adam White
·3-min read
Daniel Kaluuya is confused for Leslie Odom Jr at the Oscars (Variety)
Daniel Kaluuya is confused for Leslie Odom Jr at the Oscars (Variety)

A journalist and Golden Globes voter has denied confusing Daniel Kaluuya for a different Black actor minutes after he won an Oscar.

Margaret Gardiner, a South African journalist and member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, confirmed on Monday (26 April) that she had been involved in the interaction with Kaluuya in the Academy Awards press room the night before.

In the incident, Gardiner asked Kaluuya “what it meant for [him] to be directed by Regina” – a reference to Regina King, director of One Night in Miami.

Kaluuya was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category alongside One Night in Miami star Leslie Odom Jr.

Kaluuya asked Gardiner to clarify her question, with the journalist repeating the same question without mentioning King’s name. She also enquired what Kaluuya’s win meant “for the community”.

In a tweet, Gardiner denied that she confused Kaluuya for Odom Jr.

“Daniel Kaluuya I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jr,” Gardiner tweeted. “I’m sorry if it seemed that way. I had wanted to ask about Regina King not being nominated as a director for One Night in Miami, and your win for Judas and the Black Messiah for the community at this time.”

In a second tweet, Gardiner wrote: “There was a sound issue so I dropped the part about Regina King and restated my question. What does it mean for the community at this time. When I listed [sic] to the audio, I do understand, but there was no confusion.”

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Responding to someone who questioned the logic of her explanation, she tweeted: “The question came out wrong. Hearing it, I understand. Regina didn't get nominated. Daniel won for a movie about race in the most representative Oscars, I wanted to combine the question and misspoke. no one will believe me.”

Writer Roxane Gay responded: “Even if the question came out wrong it doesn’t make sense. Frankly the explanation makes it worse.”

Seven hours later, Gardiner apologised once again.

“This is my last tweet on my mistake,” she wrote. “I apologise to Daniel Kaluuya for my words. I apologise to anyone else who was offended by them.”

Variety
Variety

Gardiner’s line of questioning follows controversy over the Globes as a whole. In February, the HFPA pledged to appoint more voters of colour after it was confirmed that, of its 87 members, none were Black.

Kaluuya took home the Best Supporting Actor award at Sunday’s Oscars ceremony for his performance as activist Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.

He sparked hilarity in his acceptance speech by referencing his parents having sex to produce him, leading his mother to express confusion from the audience.

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