HOLLYWOOD: Extending support to the ‘Dreamers’ in the US, Pakistan-origin comedian Kumail Nanjiani and actress Lupita Nyong’o from Kenya took a dig at their own immigrant status during the 90th Academy Awards.
“We are the two actors who you keep hearing about but whose names you have trouble pronouncing,” Nyong’o quipped before presenting the Best Production Design Oscar on Sunday night.
Nanjiani added, “Actually, I have to complain… Kumail Nanjiani is my stage name. My actual given Pakistani name is Chris Pine. So you can imagine how annoyed I was when the other, the white one showed up… The real Chris Pine.”
Nyong’o, whose latest release “Black Panther” is doing well at the box office, then said: “We are also immigrants. I am from Kenya.”
Nanjiani said, “And I am from Pakistan and Iowa, two places that nobody from Hollywood can find on the map.”
“Like everyone in this room, and everyone watching at home, we are dreamers. We grew up dreaming of one day working in the movies. Dreams are the foundation of Hollywood, and dreams are the foundation of America,” said Nyong’o, who won the Best Supporting Actress for “12 Years A Slave” in 2014.
“And so, to all the dreamers out there, we stand with you,” added Nanjiani of “The Big Sick” fame.
Their comments come amid an ongoing immigration debate in the US over a programme that protects hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.
President Donald Trump announced an end to the programme in September last year but gave Congress six months to find a legislative alternative.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme or DACA, established by former President Barack Obama in 2012, was an immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the US as minors, mostly illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit.