As many critics continue to pounce on the choice of the 1960s’ segregation-era Green Book as the Academy’s choice for Best Picture, few noticed one actor’s touching thanks to America that he offered in a post-Oscars speech.
Green Book chronicles the life of legendary black jazz musician Don Shirley, who hires an Italian American bodyguard and driver to transport him through the segregated South. “Green Book” refers to a guide African Americans at the time referenced to see which places they were allowed to eat in, which hotels would accommodate them, and a host of other horrible injustices black Americans suffered through at that time.
Shirley is played by actor Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar prior, and the white bodyguard, Tony “Lips” Vallelonga, was played by actor Viggo Mortensen.
But one of Shirley’s band members, Oleg, is played by Dimiter Marinov, an immigrant from Bulgaria.
Marinov shared his gratitude in a short speech after the event to ABC cameras.
What he said deserves more attention that it’s receiving.
“Hi, this is my Cinderella story. Very first time, and first of all I want to thank America, for giving me the opportunity to have my American dream,” Marinov said, fighting back tears.
“The next thing I want to thank is my country,” pointing at the flag sticking from his jacket pocket, “Bulgaria, which I happen to be the first Bulgarian actor on the red carpet. So many nominations in a major role.”
Marinov then said something so heartwarming that the entire world needs to hear it.
“And I want to thank all the young people out there that come to this country, all the immigrants, like me,” Marinov said.
“This is the only country that dreams can come true. Thank you.”
Marinov, who defected to the United States in 1990 as a political refugee, might appreciate the blessings America has to offer more than anyone.
“I grew up in a communist world where awards meant nothing. We just had to do our job,” Marinov told Hollywood Life earlier this month.
“My award was already being a part of this extraordinary project. If we win, whatever we win as we’ve been winning so far, it’s marvelous of course, but again, my biggest award will be when the audience goes and sees this film and takes this message to heart and tries to apply it to their everyday life,” Marinov said.
“I will be the very first Bulgarian actor on the red carpet at the Oscars and I’m the very first Bulgarian actor as a supporting actor in a major film. My role in this film is exceptional. I’m proud I came this far.”
Dimiter Marinov shared his deepl gratitude again Sunday night after his film did win the Oscar. His humble attitude toward his success and the country that made it possible should be an inspiration and example to tall.
Dimiter Marinov should be proud. America should be, too.
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