During the ceremony, Graham Moore, a first-time Academy Award nominee, spoke of his suicide attempt as a teenager and sent a message to kids who feel out of place to “stay weird.” He talked to BuzzFeed News about what inspired him to say what he said.
When first-time nominee Graham Moore won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on The Imitation Game, he took the stage and opened up about his suicidal past.
Moore was inspired by the man at the center of The Imitation Game, Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), who helped crack an impossible German code during World War II — changing the course of the war in the allies’ favor — only to be prosecuted later in life for being an openly gay man. At 41 years old, Turing took his own life.
“Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. And I do,” Moore said in his speech. “And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard.”
“In this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: 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,” Moore said. “And now, I’m standing here and I would like for this moment to be for that 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. 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.”
Though many assumed that Moore was gay because of his connection to Turing, at the Governors Ball after the ceremony, he told BuzzFeed News, “I’m not gay, but I’ve never talked publicly about depression before or any of that, and that was so much of what the movie was about, and it was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing so much. I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons. Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story.”
And when it came to his incredible speech, Moore admitted that he’d thought about it, but didn’t have every word planned out. “I am incredibly superstitious, so I had it loosely in my head,” he told BuzzFeed News. “It’s the kind of thing that I’ve imagined since I was a teenager. It was weird to get on the stage and say the things that I’ve been imagining in the shower and in front of mirrors. I think everyone practices their Oscars acceptance speech with a shampoo bottle, and I’ve done my fair share of them. It’s really surreal to be able to do it in real life.”