In accepting his Academy Award for best adapted screenplay, Graham Moore brought the audience to their feet with a personal story of his suicide attempt.
“When I was 16 years old I tried to kill myself because I felt weird and I felt different and I felt like I did not belong,” Moore said, his voice trembling with the disclosure.
Moore, 33, won an Oscar for his work on “The Imitation Game,” a historical feature film of British computer pioneer Alan Turning and the Bletchley Park codebreakers. Turing, whose work at Bletchley Park helped defeat the Nazis and propel the Allies to victory in World War II, was eventually prosecuted for homosexual acts and lost his security clearance. Being gay in Britain, at that time, was a crime.
Turing committed suicide in 1954 at the age of 41.
From the stage inside the Dolby Theatre, Graham encouraged those who are different to not despair.
“I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she’s weird or she’s different or she doesn’t fit in anywhere,” Graham said. “Yes you do. I promise you do. You do. Stay weird. Stay different. And then, when it’s your turn and you are standing on the stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”
The audience at the 87th annual awards show gave Graham a standing ovation for his speech. Backstage, Graham told reporters he was “not gay” and had suffered bouts of depression.