Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney fulfilled their destiny Sunday night. “Moonlight” won its second Oscar of the night for Best Original Screenplay thanks to the incredible efforts of these two writers.
Jenkins and McCraney were the frontrunners for the category, especially after winning the Writers Guild of America award while competing against other frontrunners, “La La Land” and “Manchester by the Sea.” These two films were relegated to the Original Screenplay category at the Oscars, leaving “Moonlight” as the odds-on favorite.
Aptly, Jenkins and McCraney both had moving words for the audience during their acceptance speeches. After Jenkins promised not to forget the people his film represented during these next four years, McCraney said the following: “This goes out all those black boys and girls who are non-gender conforming — who are trying to show us. So thank you, thank you. This is for you.”
Meanwhile, Mahershala Ali won the first award for “Moonlight” — and the first award of the night — for Best Supporting Actor. He was the frontrunner for the award after his many previous wins during the award season, including the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance (though he surprisingly lost the Golden Globe to “Nocturnal Animal’s” Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who wasn’t even nominated by the Academy in this category).
The Academy Awards were held February 26 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. For all of IndieWire’s coverage from the ceremony, click here.