Matthew A. Cherry used the closing seconds of his Academy Award acceptance speech Sunday to honor the late Kobe Bryant, who in 2018 won an award in same category Cherry was recognized.
Cherry referenced Bryant after he and his associates won in the category Best Animated Short Film for “Hair Love,” a story in support of natural hair and representation.
“This award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant. May we all have a second act as great as his was,” said Cherry, who wrote “Hair Love” and helped to direct and produce it.
Bryant won the award in 2018 for his “Dear Basketball,” becoming the first former professional athlete to nominated for, and win, an Oscar. Cherry’s bio lists him as having played for the NFL’s Jaguars, Bengals, Panthers and Ravens from 2004-07. He never played in a regular-season game.
Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people were also killed in the crash.
There was another connection to Bryant during the red-carpet portion of the Academy Awards. Knicks superfan Spike Lee entered dressed in a purple-and-gold Bryant-themed tuxedo.
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