The actors, who presented the award for Achievement in Production Design at the 2018 Academy Awards, talked about how they persevered to make it in Hollywood against the odds. They encouraged all the “dreamers” to keep striving, with a nod to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Dreamers that are the subject of fights between President Trump and Congress over whether the children who were brought into the United States can remain in the country.
The duo started off with jokes about their names.
“Good evening, we are the two actors you keep hearing about, but whose names you have trouble pronouncing,” Nyong’o, 35, said.
“Actually, I have to come clean. Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine. So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the white Chris Pine showed up. The ‘real’ Chris Pine,” Nanjiani, 40, said.
Nyong’o added that the pair are both immigrants — she was born in Mexico City to Kenyan parents, and Nanjiani grew up in Pakistan before moving to Iowa for college — from “two places that nobody in Hollywood can find on a map,” he added.
“And like everyone in this room and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers,” Nyong’o said. “We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America.”
“And so, to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you,” Nanjiani said.
The 2018 Oscars are held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and telecast live on ABC.