Back to IndieWire

‘Moonlight’ Stars Return to Middle School After Surprise Best Picture Win: ‘It Felt Wonderful’

Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner received a warm reception in Miami.

Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner in "Moonlight"

Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner in “Moonlight”

Photo by David Bornfriend, courtesy of A24

Just as all the winners at Sunday night’s shocking Academy Awards must now go back to work, so too must the kids return to school. That includes Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner, two seventh-graders who appeared in the Best Picture–winning “Moonlight” and have since returned to their middle school in Miami. A local NBC affiliate caught up with the two kiddos after they literally received a red-carpet reception. Watch below.

READ MORE: London Theater Pranks Audience by Playing ‘La La Land’ in a Screening of ‘Moonlight’

“It was a different feel, everybody was saying congratulations and everything and it felt wonderful,” Piner said of his return to Norland Middle School. Tanisha Cidel, who teaches the students’ drama class and also appears in “Moonlight,” says that she wants “the parents to understand that if your child has talent or shows an interest in the arts, take it seriously, cultivate the talent, put them in a program.”

READ MORE: ‘Moonlight’ Postmortem: How To Win Best Picture in 5 (Not So) Easy Steps

Hibbert, meanwhile, was as surprised as the rest of us when it was revealed that “Moonlight” had actually won Best Picture: “When they first was like, ‘Moonlight’ got it, we were like, yeah, nice joke, but they were like serious, you guys got it, and all I remember, I jumped over this guy and he was screaming, and I was like sorry, I just won an award!”

Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: Film and tagged

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox