Kobe Bryant may have won five NBA championships, but none of those high-pressure moments on the basketball court prepared him for the Oscars. Asked by Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” if he felt more nervous taking the final shot in a game or waiting for his category, Bryant says he was surprised it was the latter.
“I thought it was actually going to be easier because you’re not in control. There’s no direct competition going on where you’re affecting the outcome,” he says. “And then once it gets closer and closer, you start feeling butterflies in your stomach. You’re like, ‘Why the hell am I feeling this?’ Then I realized it’s actually worse because I’m not in control of the outcome. You’re just sitting there and then we know our award is coming up next and they go to commercial. Me and my wife are like, ‘Oh, you gotta be kidding me! Let’s go already!’”
The former Los Angeles Laker and animator Glen Keane won Best Animated Short for “Dear Basketball,” the adaptation of Bryant’s love letter to the sport when he announced his retirement in 2015. Bryant says he’s still “tripping” over the victory because “this is not supposed to happen. I’m supposed to play basketball, not write something that wins an Oscar.”
Bryant’s win during the #MeToo movement spurred people on social media to call out his 2003 sexual assault case. The then-24-year-old was arrested after a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado accused him of rape. At the time, Bryant said he believed the encounter was consensual but later understood that the accuser didn’t view it the same way. The case was dropped when the woman said she was unwilling to testify; they later settled a civil suit out of court.
Bryant and Kimmel did not discuss the case or the reaction to his win on the show, but Bryant called Hollywood is “a fascinating industry to be a part of” and says he now feels a new responsibility to promote diversity and inclusion.
“How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?” he says. “In the animation business, there’s a serious lack of diversity. When I won that award the other night, I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
And now we move from film to television awards! Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.