I was already pumped last night watching the Oscars because I knew that Mo’Nique was a shoo-in (and deservedly so) for the Best Supporting Actress award, for her portrayal of Mary Jones in Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. But I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled when, before Mo’Nique had her turn on the stage (where she KILLED it, by the way, on so many levels—but I’ll let the rest of the blogosphere write about that)—‘Precious’ screenwriter, Geoffrey Fletcher won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. What a win! Not just for Fletcher, who has now made history as the first African-American writer to ever win an Oscar, but also for Sapphire, whose novel Fletcher adapted for the film. She looked ecstatic when Fletcher won—I saw her in the audience, standing up and applauding with the rest of the ‘Precious’ crew, who all wore some shade of sapphire, I’m guessing in her honor, and I have to say as a writer I could feel her joy. Even if it wasn’t ‘her’ award per se, it was originally the story she wrote, and without that story, ‘Precious’ wouldn’t exist.
As for Fletcher, he seemed as surprised as everyone else was when he won, and his acceptance speech was one of those sincere, spontaneous and emotional speeches that make the Oscars worth watching. And while his award isn’t getting nearly as much press coverage as Kathryn Bigelow’s first-female Best Director win for ‘The Hurt Locker’, as a writer of color, I feel the impact of Fletcher’s win—for a movie about Black folks directed by a Black man, based on a book by a Black woman—more than anything else.
Congratulations, Geoffrey Fletcher, and thanks for giving all the rest of us writers of color something to be hopeful about and proud of today.