Waleed Aly wins Gold Logie, delivers inspirational acceptance speech

Waleed Aly and Susan Carland at the 58th Annual Logie Awards. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

Waleed Aly and Susan Carland at the 58th Annual Logie Awards. Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

Waleed Aly brought the Logies to a standstill with a heartfelt Gold Logie acceptance speech that highlighted discrimination in the entertainment industry.

The Project host delightfully declared to the TV audience: “do not adjust your sets, there’s nothing wrong with the picture.”

 

The quip set the tone for his acceptance speech – a smart, carefully worded but thoroughly entertaining piece of television history (watch the video below).

Aly claimed the award on behalf of a few people, including a man named Dimitri.

“None of you will know who he is, but he came up to me a week ago,” Aly said. “He didn’t come up to me and wish me good luck. He came up to me and through gritted teeth, commanded me to claim this award tonight. This really, really mattered to him, this really meant something to him … for a particular reason.”

Aly used the platform to shine a spotlight on discrimination in the Australian TV industry.

“Someone who is in this room came up to me, introduced themselves and said to me: ‘I really hope you win. My name’s Mustafa but I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job’.”

Even as the hour ticked past midnight, the usually jovial Logies crowd was silenced by that line. The vision of Hall of Fame inductee Noni Hazlehurst with tears in her eyes sent the message almost as well as Aly himself. This was a moment.

Hazlehurst had also delivered a sobering speech earlier in the night, highlighting sexism and bigotry in the industry (read more here).

Aly went on: “He’s (Mustafa) here tonight and it matters to people like that, that I am here…

“So to Dimitri, Mustafa and everyone else with an unpronounceable name like, I don’t know, Waleed, I want to say one thing: I am incredibly humbled that you would think to invest in me in that way.

“You deserve more numerous and more worthy avatars than that. I don’t know if and when that is going to happen but if tonight means anything, and I don’t know if it means anything, it’s that the Australian public, our audience, as far as they’re concerned, there is absolutely no reason why that can’t change.”

Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

Waleed Aly, Carrie Bickmore and Peter Helliar. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images.

Waleed also ensured his fellow Gold Logie nominees – Carrie Bickmore, Scott Cam, Lee Lin Chin, Essie Davis and Grant Denyer – received due adulation, with each of them representing a piece of Australia.

“The thing that struck me about it was each nominee brilliantly distils some separate piece of Australia,” he said. “I think it’s an amazing thing. I think it’s a fantastic thing that can be a symbol on this night in this way.

“If you step back and look at all those pieces assembled, it is a spectacular mosaic and we should really be celebrating that fact.”

He also had high praise for his The Project colleagues and his wife, Susan Carland.

“There’s a lot more I could say about Susan. The reality is, if she had my job she’d be better at it than me,” he said. “She is sharper, she is wittier, she is funnier, she is infinitely more charming.

“She changes you. She makes you better. She’s done that in her work and her community work and they don’t give statuettes like that to people in that work. But one day, if life is fair, they might just giver her a statue.”

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