Devan Coggan
February 13, 2017 AT 03:55 PM EST

Moonlight is filled with powerful performances, from Mahershala Ali’s Oscar-nominated turn as a drug-dealing father figure to André Holland as the main character’s childhood best friend. But perhaps the most arresting performance of all belongs to one of Moonlight’s youngest actors: Alex R. Hibbert, who plays the young Chiron (a.k.a. “Little”). Over the course of the film’s entire first act, Hibbert barely speaks, but he still delivers an affecting portrayal of a young boy growing up in Miami.

Hibbert has attracted plenty of attention for his role in such a moving film — in all, Moonlight has earned eight Oscar nominations, including best picture — but apparently, he’s not letting the spotlight go to his head. In a recent interview with HeyUGuys, the now-12-year-old actor opened up about his first-ever role and how he’s staying grounded in the face of all the awards show buzz.

David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images

“I don’t work for the fame,” Hibbert said. “I just work for my mom. I grind for my mom. Everything I do, everything I pursue is for my mom, and I’m doing this for her so she can retire. I don’t really care about the fame that much. I just wanna help my mom and help other people that need help.”

He added that he loves acting, especially getting to work with artists like Ali or Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, but he’s got big plans that aren’t just limited to the big screen: When he grows up, he says he wants to use some of his acting money to build a lab and fund cancer research.

Read the full interview at HeyUGuys.

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