At the 89th Annual Academy Awards last night, Moonlight became the first LGBTQ film to win the Best Picture Oscar.
The film follows a young man named Chiron living in a rough neighborhood of Miami in three acts from childhood to teen years to adulthood. Over this time, Chiron struggles with his own sexual identity, the concept of masculinity, and his feelings for his friend Kevin, all set against a challenging home life and bullying at school.
Moonlight deftly balances telling a very intimate story about love, identity, family, and friendship with painting a picture of the larger experience of what it means to be a young, black, queer male. Moonlight is available to watch now on iTunes, Amazon, and on demand services.
Out story writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the short play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue which inspired the film, and director/screenwriter Barry Jenkins won the Oscar in Best Adapted Screenplay.
“This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non gender conforming who don’t see themselves. We’re trying to show you you and us, so thank you thank you this is for you,” McCraney said.
“All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your live is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back. And for the next four years, we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you,” Jenkins added.
Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali took home the Oscar in Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Juan. This makes him the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar. Ali also won the Screen Actors Guild Award in Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Rule and the NAACP Image Award in Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for the role. Byron Howard, co-director of Zootopia, also thanked his husband from the stage while accepting for Best Animated Feature. Out songwriter Benj Pasek in Best Original Song for La La Land’s “City of Stars.”
Colleen Atwood (winner for Best Costume Design), Jaden Piner (Moonlight’s young Kevin), stylist and Fashion Police cohost Brad Goreski, and Sting (nominee and performer) and his wife Trudie Styler sported ‘&’ lapel pins to show solidarity for those most vulnerable to discrimination in the current political climate. The ‘&’ pins, courtesy of GLAAD, represent the Together movement that seeks to unite marginalized communities to resist, persist and prevail against hateful and non-inclusive legislation, policy and rhetoric.