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Da’Vine Joy Randolph Thanks Her Publicist in Oscars Acceptance Speech

Da’Vine Joy Randolph is now an Oscar winner.

By Sunday night, this result was mostly a foregone conclusion, as she had already swept best supporting actress at the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Independent Spirit, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards this season for her performance in Alexander Payne’s throwback dramedy The Holdovers. Randolph played cafeteria manager Mary, one of the trio of protagonists left at the boarding school over holiday break, grieving the death of her son.

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“Your performance is tribute to those who have helped others heal in spite of their own pain,” said presenter Lupita Nyong’o, the past Oscar winner selected to introduce Randolph.

Randolph is now the first of nine Oscar-nominated performers directed by Payne to go all the way. (The second could be Paul Giamatti, whose best actor category is still to be announced as of press time.)

The Philadelphia native, who studied classical vocal performance and musical theater at Temple before earning her master’s from the Yale School of Drama, got her big break when she made her Broadway debut in 2012 in Ghost: the Musical as Oda Mae Brown, the role that won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar in the original movie version and earned Randolph herself a Tony nomination.

Randolph began receiving praise on screen as well especially after her turn as Lady Reed in Dolemite Is My Name, for which she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and won with the African-American Film Critics Association and the Black Film Critics Circle.

Since then, Randolph has been a highlight in a diverse range of interesting projects, including her ongoing recurring role as the exasperated homicide detective in Only Murders in the Building and her appearance as Mahalia Jackson in Rustin, for which she performed two numbers.

In her acceptance speech, she thanked her mother for encouraging her to take theater classes after initially starting off as a singer, as well as all the women who have supported and encouraged her path. “For so long I wanted to be different, and now I realize I just need to be myself,” she said. “When I said I don’t see myself, you said that’s fine, we’re going to forge our own path.”

She thanked many of these women by name onstage, including producers Colleen Camp and Barbara Broccoli and agents Tracy Brennan and Sarah Fargo. But one person she didn’t was her publicist, of whom she was very effusive: “You don’t have a publicist like I have a publicist. You have been by my side through this entire thing, and I am forever grateful.”

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel gave her a do-over after the ad break: “Your publicist needs a publicist,” he joked.

Back in her seat, the sound for Randolph’s enthusiastic endorsement wasn’t picked up by the television cameras, but lip reading and IMDb Pro save the day: Marla Farrell of Shelter PR.

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