IN THE end, Waleed Aly won the Gold Logie, and the sky didn’t fall in.
Aly acknowledged the debate that had surrounded his nomination with his trademark no nonsense approach. “There’s nothing wrong with this picture.”
And as Australia reacted to the news, it seemed many agreed — one only had to look at new Logies Hall of Famer’s Noni Hazelhurst’s tears as Aly spoke to know that.
Social media lit up with congratulations, many quoting another of Aly’s lines in his speech, “yes, this is happening”.
Fellow Gold Logie nominee Lee Lin Chin, whose Twitter account usually is pure delightful sarcasm, interrupted normal transmission with a heartfelt message to the winner.
“As much as I would have loved to have won the Logie, I would never have been as articulate as Waleed. Australian TV needs more of you,” she wrote.
Waleed Aly wins the Gold Logie! Australia’s great evader now takes his place alongside Craig McLachlan, Denise Drysdale, Steve Vizard, Ernie Sigley and Georgie Parker in the pantheon of local TV greats – none of whom have ever once described the murder of thousands as a mere “irritant”.
UPDATE. The mysterious “Mustafa” referred to by Aly in his Logies speech – the guy who claimed he had to change his name so he could work in television – is revealed as Tyler De Nawi, star of Nine’s Here Come the Habibs.
The Project’s Waleed Aly … won a Silver Logie as best presenter and the big one, his first Gold Logie, as “‘best personality on TV”… Deborah Mailman won her fourth Logie, as outstanding actress in Redfern Now.
But no, even at the moment this latest evidence is revealed:
The former Radio National drive host was a popular winner in the room, reviving a standing ovation. “Do not adjust your sets. There’s nothing wrong with the picture,” he said.
Turned into a joke:
“This is happening. Finally a male presenter on commercial TV has won a Gold Logie.”
Aly also spoke about the racism within the TV industry and how he had been privately championed by people he knew to win…
“There have been a lot of people in the past week or two who have made it clear to me that me being here right now really matters to them,” he said.
“It matters to them for a particular reason.
“That reason was brought home … not so long ago actually when someone who is in this room, and I’m not going to use the name they use in the industry, came up to me, introduced themselves and said to me, `I really hope you win. My name is Mustafa. But I can’t use that name because I won’t get a job’.
What was Waleed’s original name, then?
In a night where calls for change were a common theme, veteran screen star Noni Hazlehurst earned a standing ovation as she became the second ever woman after Ruth Cracknell to be inducted into the Logies Hall Of Fame, which started in 1984.
The actress made a powerful acceptance speech taking aim at the snail-like pace of change within the Australian TV industry, saying it was slow to accept women and non-Anglo Saxon Logie nominees Waleed Aly and Lee Lin Chin.
Was Aly’s award just signal-sending then?
Let go, people.