'Minding the Gap' star, Rockford native Keire Johnson to attend 2019 Oscars

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- It's almost time for the 2019 Oscars! "Minding the Gap" from Chicago's Kartemquin Films could be on the road to gold.

The acclaimed documentary about some kids in Rockford struggling to break out of anguished lives is from rising star director Bing Liu.

Keire Johnson, one of the young men in the film, will be at the Oscars on Sunday.

His reaction the first time he saw himself on a big screen?

"Wow, I need to comb my hair!"

Bing Liu was always taking videos of his skating pals in Rockford. But Johnson said it was much more than that.

"He was the first person to ever approach me and ask me about anything I was going through, so he stood out from the rest of my friends because of that. I always admire how smart he was, too," Johnson said.

This young man's candor makes him a standout in the film that can be tough for him to watch.

"I like revisiting the good times. But the bad times, I want to keep there. I already learned from them," Johnson said. "I'll just end up crying."

Johnson looks forward to the Oscars, but he's not taking it too seriously.

"Hopefully I don't trip or something and everyone's like taking photos of me when I fall," Johnson said. "'Hi Morgan Freeman, I'm Keire,' instead of like, 'Oh my God, you're Morgan Freeman!'"

He's ready for his closeup on the red carpet.

"I think the last time I wore a suit when I was really little, going to church with my mom," Johnson said. "I wonder if, as a handsome adult, if that tux will make me look more handsome!"
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