On Sunday night, Moonlight became the first LGBT-themed film to win the Best Picture Oscar, a historic achievement. The film’s Mahershala Ali also won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and the film’s Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won their first Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. And it was during their acceptance speech for that award that they reached out to those who needed most to hear their message.
“I tell my students that I teach sometimes,” Moonlight’s director and writer Barry Jenkins told the Oscars audience of several hundred million people in 225 countries around the world, “be in love with the process not the result but I really wanted this result because a bajillion people are watching and all you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life 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 promised, alluding to the Donald Trump presidency.
“This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves,” Moonlight’s Tarell Alvin McCraney, who wrote the story, continued. “We’re trying to show you, you and us. So thank you, thank you, this is for you.”
It was an amazing moment, but one that was about to be upstaged as later Moonlight would win the coveted award for Best Picture – after it mistakenly was first given to La La Land.