Daniel Kaluuya should be one of the most recognizable faces in the world following his Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actor on Sunday night, but one reporter mistook him for a different Black actor.
The British-born star was fresh off of his win for his role as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah when a reporter asked a question that lead many to believe she confused him with his fellow Best Supporting Actor nominee, Leslie Odom Jr.
“I want to congratulate you on this,” Margaret Gardiner, a journalist for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, told Kaluuya prior to asking her question. “I’ve been following you since the beginning of your career, and I was wondering what it meant for you to be directed by Regina [King], what this means for you at this time with the world in the state that it’s in?”
Kaluuya’s reaction became an instant viral meme. He followed up by asking Gardiner to “say that question again, please.”
Daniel Kaluuya responds to a journalist who mistook him for Leslie Odom Jr. at the #Oscars and asked him: “What was it like being directed by Regina [King]?”— Film Updates (@TheFilmUpdates) April 26, 2021
Odom Jr. was in #OneNightInMiami, directed by King. Kaluuya won for #JudasAndTheBlackMessiah. pic.twitter.com/CWLe0O9jZQ
Gardiner asked her question again and reframed it without mentioning Regina King.
But Twitter caught the error:
Daniel Kaluuya and Leslie Odom Jr don’t even remotely look alike????? oh my god— AB 🪄 (@YoAdriBaby) April 26, 2021
Watching this thing unfold has been WILD. Bottom line, a white South African journalist & member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association absolutely 100% confused two Black actors with each other. She asked Daniel Kaluuya a question intended for Leslie Odom Jr.— Jenny Marlowe (@thereismoresea) April 27, 2021
THREAD: 1/ https://t.co/QDHl2LQMvu
There’s a dissertation to be written about this interaction and this interaction alone.— Franklin Leonard (@franklinleonard) April 26, 2021
State of the system in one minute. https://t.co/JsTdwwo0Ws
A jouro in a room full of other journos, confused Kaluuya and Leslie Odom Jr.— Sean Beattie (@VindicaSean) April 26, 2021
Anyways, I've seen the part where the interviewer says "how was it like to work with Regina" and I think she didn't mistake him for Leslie Odom Jr. but she just got confused with the director since Judas has been directed by Shaka KING. https://t.co/x7PxWXA3oy— francis west-allen (@ezrasqueer) April 26, 2021
Odom Jr. worked under Regina King’s directing for One Night in Miami. He and Kaluuya were both nominated for Supporting Actor. Shaka King directed Judas and the Black Messiah.
Gardiner later took to Twitter and claimed she did not confuse Kaluuya with Odom Jr.
“Daniel Kaluuya, I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jr.,” she wrote. “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.”
#DanielKaluuya I did not mistake you for Leslie Odom Jnr. 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.— margaret gardiner (@MargaretGGG) April 26, 2021
In an additional tweet, responding to critics, Gardiner said she “messed up her question.”
“I’m sorry you assume I can’t tell these two talented men apart,” Gardiner tweeted. “I messed up my question. I won’t be believed. I apologize to Daniel, the assumption reflects the very world I wanted to ask about. I cannot defend this. I apologize.”
2. (cont) #DanielKaluuya 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 to the audio, I do understand, but there was no confusion.— margaret gardiner (@MargaretGGG) April 26, 2021
Regardless, Daniel Kaluuya’s reaction just created a new meme for the stash. Congrats and salute.
Photo: Chris Pizzello-Pool/Getty Images