Moonlight’s Best Picture win marks a ground-breaking moment in Oscar history — and not just because of that announcement mix-up.
Although La La Land was first announced as this year’s Best Picture recipient, the true winner was actually Barry Jenkins’ gorgeous, meditative tale of a young black man growing up in Miami. Moonlight follows the young Chiron through three different points in his life (played by three different actors), as he struggles to find his place in the world and understand his own sexuality.
According to GLAAD, Moonlight’s win makes it the first-ever LGBTQ film to earn Best Picture.
“Congratulations to Moonlight on its well-deserved win for Best Picture,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Film is our largest cultural export and must represent the full diversity of the people who make up this country. This sends a strong message to the film industry that it needs to embrace inclusive stories if it wants to remain competitive and relevant.”
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Jenkins wrote Moonlight based on a play by Tarrell Alvin McCraney, and at Sunday’s awards ceremony, the pair also won Best Adapted Screenplay. In their acceptance speech, they dedicated their win not just to the people who helped them make the film but to “all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves.”
“I tell my students that I teach sometimes, ‘Be in love with the process, not the result,’” Jenkins told the audience. “But I really wanted this result because a bajillion people are watching. And all you people out there who think 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.”
Mahershala Ali also won Best Supporting Actor for his role as Chiron’s mentor, Juan. In all, Moonlight was nominated for eight Oscars.
See the full list of this year’s Oscar winners here.