You probably don’t remember Matthew Cherry’s NFL career, unless you were really into Akron football or the deepest part of the league’s depth charts 15 years ago.
His filmmaking career looks like it will be a lot more memorable.
The former Akron wide receiver who saw time on the rosters of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Ravens won his first Oscar on Sunday for Best Animated Short Film, accepting the award with producer Karen Ruper Toliver for his work “Hair Love.”
— ABC (@ABCNetwork) February 10, 2020
The win makes Cherry the second former pro athlete to ever win an Oscar, joining Kobe Bryant.
The win is an incredible accomplishment given that the film originated as a Kickstarter organized by Cherry, who spoke of his desire to make a movie about an African-American father’s relationship with his daughter and figuring out how to do her hair. Cherry cited a lack of representation in mainstream animation as a reason for doing the project.
The win is even more incredible given that Cherry straight-up called his shot all the way back in 2012.
I'm gonna be nominated for an Oscar one day. Already claiming it
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 2, 2012
Cherry becomes the second former athlete to win the Best Animated Short Film award in three years after Bryant, something he alluded to during his acceptance speech.
“This award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant, may we all have a second act as great as his was,” Cherry said.
Given how much it’s been noted that Bryant loved being a father to four daughters, you can imagine the Los Angeles Lakers legend would have approved of Cherry’s work.
Here’s the award-winning short:
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