Cord Jefferson is calling on Hollywood to take more “risks” when it comes to low- and mid-budget films.

The “American Fiction” writer/director won the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for adapting Percival Everett’s “Erasure” for the big screen. Jeffery Wright and Sterling K. Brown are additionally nominated in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories, respectively; the film is also up for Best Picture.

“I understand that this is a risk-averse industry, I get it,” Jefferson said during his acceptance speech onstage. “But $200 million movies are also a risk. And it doesn’t always work out, but you the risk anyway. Instead of making one $200 million movie, try making 20 $10 million movies. Or 50 $4 million movies.”

Jefferson, who was previously celebrated at the 2023 IndieWire Honors, called his remarks “a plea to acknowledge and recognize that there are so many people out there who want the opportunity that I was given.”

The Emmy-winning “Succession” scribe pointed to his fellow Best Adapted Screenplay nominees like Martin Scorsese (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Christopher Nolan (“Oppenheimer”), and Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”), as well as Best Original Screenplay nominee Greta Lee (“Past Lives”) as inspirations for the next generation of filmmakers. “Anatomy of a Fall” won Best Original Screenplay with director Justine Triet and co-writing husband Arthur Harari accepting the award onstage. Each of the screenwriters Jefferson named are also writer/directors.

“The next Martin Scorsese is out there, the next Greta is out there — both Gretas,” Jefferson said. “The next Christopher Nolan is out there, I promise you. They just want a shot and we can give them one.”

“American Fiction” has been celebrated across the awards circuit, with the upcoming WGA Awards also recognizing the feature as a contender.

Jefferson recently said he has a trio of feature scripts in the works in addition to his TV deal with Warner Bros.

The writer/director was feted with the Breakthrough Award at the IndieWire Honors, saying about his debut, “I’ve never directed anything before I made this movie, I’ve never written a movie before I made this movie. Putting it into the world is a vulnerable experience. It is something that I was terrified people were going to hate and that someone would say, ‘Don’t ever do that again, and we’ll never give you money to do that ever again. The fact that it has been embraced in the way it has been embraced, it means the world to me.”

Jefferson also shouted out mid-budget features among his own favorite films.

Keep track of all the 2024 Oscars winners here.

Reporting by Tony Maglio.

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