At Sunday's 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, Daniel Kaluuya nabbed the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his riveting portrayal of Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah.
However, the celebratory excitement soured after the British actor headed to the press room to discuss his win with a reporter who claimed to have followed his career from the beginning.
Her question indicated otherwise.
Margaret Gardiner, a reporter from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), appeared to mistake Kaluuya for Leslie Odom Jr.—who was also up for the Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in the Oscar-nominated film One Night in Miami.
One Night in Miami was directed by Regina King in her directorial debut, whereas Judas and the Black Messiah—for which Kaluuya won—was directed by Shaka King.
Gardiner asked Kaluuya:
"I was wondering what it meant to you to be directed by Regina and what this means for you, at this time, with the world in the state that it's in?"
You can watch the awkward clip, below.
Daniel Kaluuya responds to a journalist who mistook him for Leslie Odom Jr. at the #Oscars and asked him: “What wa… https://t.co/BySYxQVy1b— Film Updates (@Film Updates)1619455583.0
It was pretty obvious by the look on Kaluuya's face he was confused.
@TheFilmUpdates A face that says, "Did that reporter really just do a racism at me?!" https://t.co/hfbiOONA3s— Andrew Fox-McKay (@Andrew Fox-McKay)1619460281.0
He took a moment and told Gardiner:
"Say that question again, please."
@TheFilmUpdates When black ppl ask you to repeat yourself....we giving you a chance to check yourself before we do.— Steven Cris (@Steven Cris)1619459522.0
@TheFilmUpdates He should’ve been like. https://t.co/ow2SDnddtO— Rendy Jones (@Rendy Jones)1619457652.0
This time, the reporter did not mention Regina King and rephrased the question as:
"I was wondering what it meant for you to win with the world in the state that it's in at the moment?"
Without addressing the confusion, the Oscar winner responded:
"It's amazing to have this honor and be appreciated in this way."
But the reporter continued:
"Does it mean more for the community though?"
@TheFilmUpdates the facial expressions 🤣...he should've made direct eye contact and firmly corrected her... gotta s… https://t.co/n0gM91Hfmn— Chloe Cook (@Chloe Cook)1619459625.0
"What means something to the community is people pouring into each other, protecting each other, defending each other, and guiding each other. That's what means everything to the community."
@TheFilmUpdates what a class act for not just absolutely humiliating her on the spot, which he would have been well within his rights to do.— Will Mavity (@Will Mavity)1619462360.0
@TheFilmUpdates This reporter though. At first I was laughing and admired Daniel for his restraint but the more I t… https://t.co/nD7qccA0Am— Qondi 💛 🐝 🇺🇸🇿🇦🇿🇼 (@Qondi 💛 🐝 🇺🇸🇿🇦🇿🇼)1619462980.0
IndieWire deputy editor Kate Erbland, who was also in the virtual Oscar press room, suggested Gardiner's question was seemingly framed as if Kaluuya did star in a film directed by Regina King.
When she was asked to repeat the question, Erbland said Gardiner's omission of Regina King may have indicated she caught her mistake and attempted to gloss over the gaffe with the reframed question.
@TheFilmUpdates Because the reporter stated she has been following him since the beginning of his career; was she r… https://t.co/4FuLfGaTSP— CraigCharlesGarrison (@CraigCharlesGarrison)1619463295.0
After the interview clip went viral, Gardiner took to Twitter in an attempt to set the record straight.
But her repeated defense did not help her cause.
"Daniel Kaluuya, I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jr. 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."
Gardiner blamed the blunder on audio issues and emphasized "there was no confusion."
Twitter remained skeptical.
@MargaretGGG We all heard the question Margaret. Why not own the mistake, apologize and move on? You are only makin… https://t.co/73h98FZLgX— Bob Loblaw (@Bob Loblaw)1619467028.0
@MargaretGGG The right thing to do is just apologize unequivocally. Instead you are blaming everyone for mishearing… https://t.co/HLpGLaomlN— Qondi 💛 🐝 🇺🇸🇿🇦🇿🇼 (@Qondi 💛 🐝 🇺🇸🇿🇦🇿🇼)1619467814.0
She later apologized to social media users.
Gardiner maintained she did not confuse Kaluuya for Odom. Speaking to The Los Angeles Times, she said she wanted to ask Kaluuya about his win, calling it "a zeitgeist moment of people finally recognizing the inequalities of organizations. When I said it, it came out that he couldn't hear me."
IndieWire noted the HFPA had been under fire for a number of scandals for months—including the expelling of former president Philip Berk for declaring Black Lives Matter a "racist hate movement."