Regina King referenced the murder of George Floyd as she opened the Oscars on Sunday night.
The 50-year-old actress opened this year’s event in the absence of a traditional host and noted in her monologue that she’d have been out protesting if police officer Derek Chauvin hadn’t been convicted of killing Floyd – who died in May 2020 when the cop knelt on his neck for several minutes, sparking global protests – last week.
The ceremony began with Regina walking through Union Station in Los Angeles onto the stage, where she opened with a joke after taking a small stumble.
She quipped: “Live TV, here we go! Welcome to the 93rd Oscars. Jesus, I made it."
Turning serious, she then said: “It has been quite a year, and we are still smack-dab in the middle of it. We are mourning the loss of so many.
“I have to be honest, if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded my heels for marching boots.
“I know many of you want to reach for your remote when you feel Hollywood is preaching to you, but as the mother of a Black son who fears for his safety, no 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."
With the evening much more stripped down than usual because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ‘One Night in Miami’ filmmaker explained how producers had made the event safe for attendees.
She said: “And yes, we are doing it maskless... think of this as a movie set.
"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."