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How Many Oscars for Moonlight?

(Blogmensgo, gay blog of January 31, 2017) With eight nominations, the movie Moonlight by American director Barry Jenkins is one of the three big favorites for the Academy Award Show in February. It already reaped some awards at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. Film critics praise the new movie even more than Brokeback Mountain or Harvey Milk at the time although it was produced with a rather small budget.

Update of February 28, 2017. In the end, Moonlight took home three of the eight Oscars that it was nominated for, including the one for the best picture. However, there was a big mix-up at first – in fact, the biggest mistake in the history of the Academy Awards. More details at the end of this article.

Here is some information on the movie (without spoiler)

Moonlight tells the story of Chiron as a child (Alex Hibbert), teenager (Ashton Sanders) and adult (Trevante Rhodes). Chiron hates his mother Paula (Naomie Harris), a drug addict who gets her crack supply from Juan (Mahershala Ali).

Poster of the movie <em>Moonlight</em>

The movie poster in the very meaningful blue color of the original theater play. ©oscar.go-com

Chiron’s friend Kevin is the only one who does not bully Chiron as he is slowly getting to terms with being gay. One day however, a dare is becoming a drama and puts the friendship between the two boys in question…

The movie script is based on the theater play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue written by Tarell Alvin McCraney in 2003.

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney are part of the US black cultural intelligentsia. Both grew up in the same neighborhood in Miami, and both mothers were junkies.

A rain of awards

Many nominations, some awards

The movie was nominated for six Golden Globe Awards in 2017 but only received one in the end although it was the one for the Best Motion Picture (Drama) in 2016.

It also received just one SAG Award 2017: The SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor went to Mahershala Ali for his interpretation of Juan. In his very moving acceptance speech, the actor praised the wealth and meaning of diversity. In the movie, Juan helps the oppressed, gay and confused Chiron to find his way to adulthood and, eventually, to find himself.

In his own life, Mahershala Ali had to face similar challenges because he converted to Islam although his mother was a minister in a Christian church. This is why he desperately wanted to have the role of Juan, who is a mentor for young Chiron.

Mahershala Ali

Mahershala Ali, with his award (for Best Supporting Actor) at the SAG Awards. ©Getty Images 2017/Matt Winkelmeyer

Academy Awards (Oscars) 2017: The highest honors

Moonlight has been nominated for the Oscars 2017 in the following categories ... and in the end, it won the three printed in bold letters here:

  • Best Motion Picture
  • Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris)
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Director
  • Bester Film Editing
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Adapted Screenplay

The biggest competitor for Moonlight is the romantic musical comedy-drama La La Land. The two quite different movies are directly competing in five categories (Best Picture, Cinematography, Director, Film Editing, Score).

Let’s wait and see how many Oscar Awards will go to Moonlight in the end. We will definitely keep our fingers crossed!

Update: This is the video of the announcement of the Oscar for the best movie, which, mistakenly, was La La Land at first. It took about three minutes to clear up the confusion and honor Moonlight as the best picture. The video is rather long, due to the fact that there were two acceptance speeches.

Here is a short summary of what happened: Warren Beatty opens the envelope for the best picture but seems quite surprised. Faye Dunaway takes the sheet of paper and announces La La Land as the winner.
The mistake had happened behind the stage: Warren Beatty was handed the wrong envelope (the one for Emma Stone as best actress in La La Land).

Mahershala Ali received the award for best supporting actor, which he had already received at the SAG Awards 2017. Below is his acceptance speech.

Frank-S / MensGo

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