Entertainment

‘Moonlight’ writers: ‘We’re two boys from Liberty City representing the 305’

Writer/director Barry Jenkins and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney accept Best Adapted Screenplay for 'Moonlight' onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Writer/director Barry Jenkins and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney accept Best Adapted Screenplay for 'Moonlight' onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Getty Images

Made-in-Miami “Moonlight” took home its second Oscar of the night for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 89th Academy Awards, beating screenplays for “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion” and “Arrival.”

Writer/director Barry Jenkins and screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney (from whose work “In the Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” the film was adapted), accepted the award together on stage.

“I told my students, ‘Be in love with the process, not the result,’ ” Jenkins said — but admitted he did like the result. After thanking friends, family and colleagues, he added a promise to anybody who feels disenfranchised: “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.”

McCraney thanked his late mother, on whom he based the character played by actress Naomie Harris.

“Thank God for my mother, who proved to me through her struggles that we can really be here and be somebody,” said the MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant winner, “two boys from Liberty City up here on this stage representing 305. This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender-confirming who don’t see themselves ... this is for you.”

The crowd watching the Oscars at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center reacted with disappointment, then confusion, then elation as "Moonlight" was named Best Picture Winner after a huge Academy Awards mix-up.

On Saturday, “Moonlight” also took home six Film Independent Spirit Awards, including best picture, best director and best screenplay. After those awards, Jenkins ripped the Trump administration’s reversal of federal guidelines protecting transgender rights, Vulture reported.

“I think ‘Moonlight’ exists as this beacon of inclusivity, as this version of America that’s as valid as any red state version of America,” Jenkins told members of the press, according to Vulture. “I’m empowered by that. I’ve got to tell more stories and speak truth to power.”

READ MORE: Miami plays a starring role in the glorious ‘Moonlight’

McCraney told the Miami Herald last year that when he first wrote “In the Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” he wasn’t sure what to do with it. That changed when he read Jenkins’ script.

“When Barry showed me the script he had written, I realized the story now had just enough remove that it didn’t feel like I would be having my entire life put on the screen,” McCraney said. “There were enough interpretations and additions that I could sit through it without feeling I was under a microscope.”

The other nominees for best adapted screenplay were Eric Heisserer (“Arrival”); Luke Davies (“Lion”); Theodore Melfi and Allison Schroeder (“Hidden Figures”) and August Wilson, who adapted his own play “Fences.”

READ MORE: It was the biggest mix-up the Oscars have ever seen — and Twitter was there for it

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