Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama
BEST ACTRESS ‑ MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
Andra Day ‑ “The United States vs Billie Holliday”
ANDRA DAY: Sorry, y’all. Can you just give me the paper, please? Because I don’t want to ‑‑ first I just want to say thank you so much, first of all, to God, to Christ, my faithful and true. With no shame, just thank you so much for bringing me to, getting me through. Mom, Dad, Dee, Josh, Jackson. To Lee Daniels, my great love, my first love. To SOP Johann Hari. My acting coach, Dr. Smith. dialect coach, Tom Jones. Hulu. To all the people at the HFPA. Thank you so much for being so engaged in Billie’s story. To Trevante, to Tyler, to Miss Lawrence, Da’Vine, Natasha (unintelligible), Garret, Rob, Blake, Adriane Leslie. And to my great team, Jeffery and Miriam. You got me through my (unintelligible). Josh, Felicia, Vanessa, Alexis. And to all the incredible nominees. I can’t believe I’m in the presence of giants with Viola Davis, Frances McDormand, Vanessa Kirby, and Carey Mulligan. You inspire me so much. And to the amazing, transformative, dynamic Billie Holliday, who just transformed me with this role and with her presence with her spirit. I love all of you so much and I just ‑‑ oh, my God. Thank you so much to just everybody who was a part of this incredible project, the production. To Pam, to Hilary. Just God bless you all. Thank you all so much.
QUESTION: Hey. How are you? First of all, congratulations.
ANDRA DAY: Hey, hey, hey. Thank you so much.
QUESTION: You got really emotional tonight. Take me back through that moment. You’re there, you’re with your family. Who was with you?
And also, on the flip side, what was the funniest thing you learned about Billie Holiday?
ANDRA DAY: Oh, my God. Who was with me when we were doing the film, or you mean in the moment? Oh, my God.
Again, I give credit to my family and my team, right. Because this transformation was in me, but it was experienced by so many people around me, and it was not easy. It was very challenging for them to see my behavior so different, to pick up very unhealthy habits. I am a singer, so it was definitely unnerving for my label and team. Hey, the vocal cords, that’s how we make our money.
But also Lee Daniels, I cannot say enough about the brilliance of Lee Daniels. You would not have seen the performance that you saw without him. I am so specific about that because I am a deeply spiritual person, and I feel like God really blessed me with this man. He didn’t just make me look good on camera, he edited me to look great, everything, top down. The man is a blessing. So him, my incredible cast. I owe a debt of gratitude for them for my life, for the rest of my life.
QUESTION: Hay, Andra. Congratulations. Can you hear me?
ANDRA DAY: How you doing?
QUESTION: I was with you a few days ago. I am so excited for you.
ANDRA DAY: Yeah.
QUESTION: I knew it would happen.
ANDRA DAY: Thank you so much.
QUESTION: Does it sink in quickly? Did you expect it? Did you really think it would happen, and did your heart beat triple fast when it did?
ANDRA DAY: I mean, listen, I was grateful for the idea of it happening and everything, but it’s hard. I am in a category with Viola Davis playing Ma Rainey. I am in a category with Vanessa Kirby, Frances McDormand, with Carey Mulligan, who just like, you know, embodied that role.
It was really amazing for me just to be nominated. It was just a whole other shift in my life, you know, changed things, definitely. So it was incredible, you know. So it was — yeah, just so excited and so grateful.
It made me just think of my cast, made me think of Lee Daniels, oh, my God. Made me think of my whole team that supported me, my family who were with me through this, Hulu and just the production, everybody. I was just so grateful. They made that space for me to give that performance, you know.
QUESTION: Hi. Congratulations.
ANDRA DAY: Wow. Hello, beautiful. Wow.
QUESTION: No, you’re beautiful. Thank you so much. I just wanted to say congratulations to you. This is incredible. How are you going to celebrate, or have you already started?
ANDRA DAY: Thank you. Oh, my God, girl, I am going to eat everything. Because I have been on a diet for three years for this movie role to drop the weight and everything. So there’s cake outside, so I am going to eat that. My family and my team, two of my cast members are here. So we are just going to eat so much food, yeah. We are very hungry. I’m very hungry.
QUESTION: Congratulations on behalf of Delta Sigma Theta. I am so excited for you. Yes, girl. Congratulations.
ANDRA DAY: Look at how gorgeous you are right here.
QUESTION: You’re gorgeous. I have to ask you, I mean, I know that this is a role that you originally did not want to do. I know you’re pinching yourself now that this is happening for you. But the question I have is, what do you think Billie would say if she saw your performance?
ANDRA DAY: Oh, my God. Okay. Well, you know, listen, Billie had a Ph.D. in cussing, and that was something Johann Hari and SLP and Lee Daniels and myself would say, what was she up there, she’s definitely cussing them out. So I think right now she would be like, “Hey, you motherfuckin’ did it, bitch,” because that’s just how she was. Actually she would — oh, fine.
QUESTION: Go ahead with what you were saying.
ANDRA DAY: Suppressed.
QUESTION: Andra, congratulations. Can you go ahead and finish that thought before I ask my question?
ANDRA DAY: Finish what thought, the thought I had just now?
QUESTION: Yeah, because I felt like it was about to be really good.
ANDRA DAY: I was just thinking what Billie Holiday is saying, “Lee Daniels, Andra Day, that’s my award, motherfuckers.” And we like, “Yeah, we know, sis. It’s yours.”
QUESTION: That’s what I wanted.
This is your debut role, shot in Montreal. I know there was some bad habits that you didn’t want to take with you, but I’m sure there’s some good things that you took with you.
So two-part question. There’s some good things you took from Ms. Billie Holiday in terms of what she stood for; and second, what you think of Montreal and Canada? Because I am from Canada.
ANDRA DAY: I was going to ask you, are you from Canada?
QUESTION: Yes, Toronto.
ANDRA DAY: First of all, I love Montreal, and I will tell you, this is honest, because my costar Tyler Williams, we have both been looking for properties in Montreal. That’s how much we loved Canada. I am so serious, that’s how much we loved it, to look to buy property there.
The cast that they hired from Canada, the coworkers they hired from Canada, their work ethic is second to none. There are scenes where they are dripping sweat, they are so tired, hours and hours and hours the entire day, and their energy was on 1,000 every single time. So I am so grateful to Canada and everybody on set from there.
The other thing is, yes, there were bad habits, but the thing I take from Billie more than anything is the strength of a Black woman. To me it is one of the things I am so grateful for this win, but to know that the last person who won this award was Whoopi Goldberg in “The Color Purple” is so not representative of how many Black women’s stories have been told sensationally and need to be told and the amazing, talented actresses who do this.
So someone would say to me when we were on set, they’d say, “Don’t worry. You’ll never have to go through this again. There’s not that many roles for Black women.” And I’d go, “Who the hell else has meatier roles and meatier stories than Black women?” I take that as strength. This woman shouldered this all on her own. She was the godmother of civil rights, and I take that with me.
QUESTION: We will see you again next year. One-love.
ANDRA DAY: My Canadian brother.
QUESTION: First of all, congratulations. What a moment. We are so happy for you.
ANDRA DAY: Thank you so much.
QUESTION: I want to ask you, who was —
ANDRA DAY: Thank you, thank you, thank you.
QUESTION: Who was in the room with you tonight? Because when everything ended, we saw you with your hands on your face. What happened as soon as the camera cut?
ANDRA DAY: Oh, my makeup artist just did all this pretty makeup, and I just covered it up in the most important moment.
But the people who were in the room with me was, first of all, my family, my mother and father in the room with me, which makes me so happy because they put up with me for so long, damn, you know.
And two of my cast mates were here, Tyler Williams and Tone Bell. So they were here — and when I tell you, them being here is representative of how they were on set. These people supported me, all of them, top down, and they are still here with me now. They were here for Lee, Tre, all of us.
My amazing team; my manager, Jeffrey; my creative director, Miriam; Josh, my day-to-day. My cousin’s family. My publicity team, Phylicia, Vanexa, Alexis. I feel like I’m missing people. My stepmom is here.
God was in the room. God was in the room and God was present, and that’s a blessing, you know.
QUESTION: Hi, Andra. It is a long way from —
ANDRA DAY: Hey, Beth.
QUESTION: It is a long way from singing at the Golden Goggle Awards. You remember that gig? USA Swimming —
ANDRA DAY: Singing where?
QUESTION: At the Golden Goggle Awards for USA Swimming.
ANDRA DAY: You were there? You saw that? That was so crazy. I had an Olympic T-shirt. Golden Goggles. It is a long way to the Golden Globes.
QUESTION: I wanted to ask you, how do you go forward balancing your singing and now your acting career now?
ANDRA DAY: For me, listen, I am a spiritual person and I sort of let the Holy Spirit, God lead whatever it is we do, wherever our service is. That’s why I believe we are here.
The next thing we have coming up is an album we have finished, and we are releasing that. The next thing may be more music, might be another movie. I have definitely started writing, and I love to work with great writers and producers and directors to get some of these stories — more of these stories of colored, marginalized women off the ground.
So it is about listening, my spirit being sensitive to the Spirit and move where we are supposed to be and we are aligned, you know.