Wow this statue really is larger than life—like 10 times bigger—amazing! Thank God I listened to my wife and wrote a speech. Let me see, well, of course I need to thank my family who never gave up on me and told me to never give up on my acting, even though most directors saw me as “just a vegetable”. News flash—I’m a mushroom and from the best troop in the world! Rock Creek Park, yeah!
I want thank my agent at 3Arts, Ned Simpson, without whom I would not be standing here now. Anyone who knows Ned knows he’s truth-teller—especially about my acting—too honest! Ned, you cad, I love you.
On this great night, I don’t want to get too political, but F.U. Trump, really. And I think you all know what I mean. I’m a fungus? He’s Head Fungi-in-Chief. Treats everyone like a mushroom—keeps us in the dark and regularly throws crap on us.
And I’d also like to give a shout out to the #Me Too movement and Time’s Up—as long as they don’t flash that during my speech…joking. More than any other species, mushrooms understand the ladies’ plight and fully support any marginalized gender. You think LGBTQIAPK is long? We use spores and have 36,000 sexes. Try having that conversation with your kid.
I want to thank the Academy for voting for a poisonous mushroom for best supporting actor in a feature film. Truth be told, I’m a type of Amanita mushroom that’s only really poisonous in large amounts, although Phantom Thread first hired me to play the very deadly mushroom, Amanita phalloides. Our coloring is similar but our caps and stems are slightly different.
Growing up as a spore, I was a total misfit, because unlike other sprouts, I never wanted to hurt humans; I actually wanted to help them. And in the words of my Uncle Milt, “Good luck with that, kid. I want to be an astronaut.” But that’s why I felt so blessed to discover acting and the means to support people instead of just poison them.
You can imagine the disappointment in my first major role in Sofia’s The Beguiled as the film ends up with me actually poisoning the great Colin Farrell—to death! Entirely against my core belief. I tried my best but the director wasn’t happy either. Called my performance ‘tentative’. Ned said if I ever wanted to work again I’d have to ‘get used to the idea of offing humans. To star in a movie as a mushroom,” he told me, “you either have to be poisonous or the other kind, and you think ‘tripping’ is a tourist thing!”
I was heartbroken but I needed to learn. After Paul Anderson called me for Thread I spent months living in a field of phalloides or “Death Caps”. At first I only observed them from a distance, but soon moved right in beside them and learned firsthand how to really poison things. I made friends I still have to this day. Good fellas. Wise guys. Don’t judge. It’s what they do.
Of course it all starts with being picked. It does help if you make yourself look like a Porcini or Chanterelle but in the end, people are dumb. They’ll pick you even if you’re wearing a sign that reads, “Danger! Don’t Eat Me!”
During those months in the Deep, though, I changed. It was my own Heart of Darkness. I rubbed shoulders with the psychedelics and did a vision quest. I met my shadow mushroom. He was the part of me that wasn’t afraid to hurt others and it scared me but I embraced him to become whole. With the Caps, it’s all about tribal loyalty. If a human rips a mushroom out of the ground and sautés him with butter and egg, the Caps want to send a message to the whole species: You take one of ours, we take one of yours. Maybe more if it’s a big omelet or you grate us over a salad or something.
It wasn’t easy at first but I began practicing how to off humans. So much so that when they told me all I had to do for my role in Phantom was to poison one spindly-legged couturier, I was like, seriously? I could take out his whole family, go to bed and sleep the sweet sleep of angels.
I had clearly gone too far and might never have come back if it wasn’t for Anderson. In the middle of filming, he and the guy playing the lead, Woodcock, improvised a new ending where I don’t actually kill him but only make him really sick. Eureka! Finally a way I could be myself without being destructive. It was a revelation.
What once made me a misfit—my love and low toxicity—now empowered me. I flourished in the role where I not only helped heal a marriage but even brought a husband and wife closer together. In the end, the husband actually wants to be poisoned by me and the wife and he goes along with it, wink-wink, nod-nod, say no more. Very romantic. For me, there can be no better achievement than this.
That’s why Phantom Thread will be my last film. Through acting, I’ve found my true self and been given new life, but it’s also killing me. Not the months of method work, I mean it’s literally killing me. You know how many times I’ve been cut, sliced and chopped? I’ve gotta save what’s left for the Missus. Thank you again, to everyone who helped me become who I am…This is for your Unc! I hope you’re up there now, floating in space smiling down at the stars just like me.