In 2018, Kobe Bryant became the first pro-athlete to win an Oscar Award for his short animated film, Dear Basketball. Now, the annual ceremony will honor the late figure during Sunday’s showcase (Feb. 9), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On Monday (Jan. 27), the Oscar Nominees Luncheon took a moment of silence in memory of Bryant and the other seven passengers on the helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. In a recap by Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) president David Rubin noted that Bryant sat in that very same room two years ago.
During his Oscars acceptance speech, Bryant thanked his family and said he’s excited to know that athletes in his profession don’t just “shut up and dribble” but explore other mediums of inspiration. “This is not supposed to happen,” he said during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m supposed to play basketball. Not write something that wins an Oscar.”
Throughout the interview, the Los Angeles Lakers legend said his win unlocked a new realm of responsibility to usher in diverse minds to the animation world. “How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry? In the animation business it’s a serious lack of diversity,” he continued. “When I won that award the other night, I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category.”
Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane and narrated by Bryant, tells the story of his road to retirement from the NBA in 2015. The short film also won the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject and a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic Design.
On Sunday (Jan. 26), Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers aboard a helicopter died after the aircraft crashed in Calabasas, California. Investigators are still piecing together the exact cause of the incident.
They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.
Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020