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Barry Jenkins Wins Independent Spirit Best Director Award For ‘Moonlight’

Jenkins acknowledged directors Andrea Arnold and Kenneth Lonergan, whom he calls "Uncle Kenny," in his acceptance speech.

Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins


In a small sign that some things are still right in the world, Barry Jenkins took home the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

It was the fifth award of the night for “Moonlight,” which also won for editing, cinematography, screenplay and the Robert Altman Award that recognizes an ensemble cast, director and casting director of a film.

Sporting a sharp Hawaiian button up befitting of the Miami native, Jenkins called out fellow directors Andrea Arnold and Kenneth Lonergan (whom he apparently calls “Uncle Kenny”), for making work that inspires him. Thanking his cast and crew, Jenkins concluded by saying: “This thing it has my name about it, but it’s absolutely about all y’all. Much love.” Also nominated were Pablo Larrain for “Jackie,” Jeff Nichols for “Loving,” and Kelly Reichardt for “Certain Women,” in addition to Arnold.

READ MORE: 2017 Independent Spirit Awards: Full Winners List — Updating Live

Told in three parts, “Moonlight” is a stunning drama about a young black boy growing up in a poor neighborhood in Miami. It has received near universal critical acclaim, achieving masterpiece status for its sensitive handling of the little traversed subject of black male queerness, and for telling a human story about poor black people. “Moonlight” is Jenkins’ second feature, the first was 2008’s “Medicine For Melancholy.”

Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney hosted the fast-paced and lively show. As has become a tradition, the 32nd Annual Spirit Awards were held in a beachfront tent next to the Santa Monica Pier the Saturday afternoon before the Academy Awards.

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