Considering that the Oscars trolled all of us by voting in Green Book as best picture, it’s only fitting that South African comedian Trevor Noah got in his own dig Sunday night at the expense of the mostly white Academy.
The Daily Show host appeared onstage to announce best picture nominee Black Panther. He took the chance to slip in an ingenious joke that only some polyglots would’ve picked up on.
Noah expounded on the universal appeal of the Marvel film, saying with a straight face:
Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase, “Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka,” which means: “In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.”’
However, that’s not what “Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka” really means in the Bantu language of Xhosa.
As the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani noted, the actual English translation is, “White people don’t know that I’m lying.”
Bravo, Noah. Here’s hoping he picks up hosting duties next year.
That wasn’t the only moment during the night poking fun at the Western/Anglo-centric event. Alfonso Cuarón, who picked up three Oscars for Roma, joked while accepting the award for best foreign language film, “I grew up watching foreign language films and learning so much from them. I’ve been inspired. Films like Citizen Kane, Jaws ... ”
Watch Noah and Cuarón’s speeches below, and bask in the history-making glory (despite some awful winner picks) from last night’s ceremony here.