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Tucson native Cord Jefferson wins Oscar for 'American Fiction' screenplay

Tucson native Cord Jefferson won the award for best adapted screenplay for his satirical film, “American Fiction,” at the Academy Awards on Sunday night.

"Thank you all who worked on this movie for trusting a 40-year-old Black guy who’d never directed anything before. It has changed my life, I love you all. Thank you so much," he said in his acceptance speech.

Jefferson, who wrote and directed his feature film debut about the struggles of an African American novelist, also pleaded for executives to take risks on young filmmakers like himself.

“Instead of making a $200 million movie, try making 20, $10 million movies,” said Jefferson, previously an award-winning TV writer.

“American Fiction,” which was also nominated for best picture and in four other categories, was adapted from Percival Everett's 2001 novel "Erasure."

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.