There is something very genuine about Graham Moore (The Imitation Game’s screenwriter who won an Oscar on Sunday for Best Adapted Screenplay) and I noticed that earlier on Sunday, while other nominees were busy showing their preparations for the big day on social media– Graham just shared a cute “complaint” about his Jewish mom.
Have received 3 texts from my mom so far today. All of them have been about food. #JewishMothers
— Graham Moore (@MrGrahamMoore) February 22, 2015
Little did I know that his mom was formerly the City of Chicago’s chief lawyer and First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff, but anyway, I’m pretty sure his mom was happy to see him winning an Oscar – and you wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that his mom was also his date on the big night. As Moore’s name was announced, he awkwardly made his way up to the stage and gave a speech that started out a little hesitantly, but turned out to be one of the most memorable moments of the night.
“When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like I did not belong,” the Chicago-born screenwriter said, “and now I’m standing here.”
“So I would like this moment,” he continued, “to be for this kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes, you do. I promise you do. Stay weird, stay different and then, when it’s your turn, and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
The Imitation Game tells the true story of Alan Turing, a genius but super weird mathematician (and a closeted homosexual) who cracked the Nazi code in World War 2 and eventually assisted in winning the war. Moore’s “weirdness” definitely matches the way that Turing is presented in the movie, and that weirdness factor is apparently what intrigued Moore in this project so much.
“I’ve been obsessed with Alan’s story since I was a teenager,” he told the press backstage at the Oscars, “I feel very lucky to have known it when I was young, to have known about it. He was a tremendous hero of mine. Alan always seemed like the outsider’s outsider in his own time for so many reasons. Because he was the smartest man in every room that he entered. Because he was a gay man at a time when that was not simply frowned upon, but also illegal. And then, because he was keeping all these secrets for the government. He was a guy who was apart from society for so many different reasons, but because he was apart from society he was able to see the world in a way that no one else had, and I found that incredibly inspirational.”
At a local gay bar in West Hollywood where I watched the televised show with my friends, we cheered so loud for his speech, mostly because according to the way he acted and what he said, we all assumed that when he said that he ‘felt different’ he meant that he ‘felt gay.’ But it turned out that Moore spent yesterday (Monday) clarifying things:
“I’m not gay,” he told Buzzfeed, “but I’ve never talked publicly about depression before and that was so much of what the movie was about. It was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing so much.”
“I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons,” Moore said. “Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story.”
So yes, he’s not gay, which makes him even weirder (in a cute way, to my opinion) – which makes his wonderful and moving speech even better.
Mazel Tov, Graham.