Movie News & Reviews

He won an Oscar for ‘Moonlight.’ The Liberty City native is now up for ‘Beale Street.’

Barry Jenkins poses during the photo call for his film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” at Kino International on January 17, 2019, in Berlin, Germany.
Barry Jenkins poses during the photo call for his film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” at Kino International on January 17, 2019, in Berlin, Germany. Getty Images

Oscar continues to cast its glow on Miami Northwestern Senior High grad Barry Jenkins — even if its radiance isn’t quite as bright as it was two years ago when he saw his made-in-Miami film “Moonlight” win three Academy awards, including best picture.

The Liberty City-born director won an adapted screenwriting award in 2017 from the Academy for “Moonlight,” which he filmed in the Liberty City neighborhood where he was raised. The 2016 film also won best picture and earned Jenkins a directing nomination.

Jenkins, 39, could win another screenwriting Oscar as he is once again nominated in the adapted screenplay category for his work in bringing James Baldwin’s 1974 novel, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” to the big screen.

If Beale Street Could Talk_.jpg
“If Beale Street Could Talk” promo poster for Barry Jenkins’ 2018 film. IMdB Annapurna Pictures

Nominations for the 91st annual Academy Awards were announced Tuesday. Jenkins’ film also scored a best supporting actress nomination for Regina King and for Nicholas Britell’s score. Britell was also nominated for scoring “Moonlight.”

Coconut Grove’s Phil Lord, 43, a Ransom Everglades and Dartmouth gradate, is another nominee — and a strong favorite to win — for co-writing and co-producing the best animated feature nominee, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” The film has already won honors from the Golden Globes and Critics’ Choice Awards.

But Jenkins wasn’t a repeat best director nominee. He was overlooked among this year’s nominees — as was first-time director, actor Bradley Cooper, who was expected to be a strong contender in the category for his work on “A Star Is Born,” the fourth version of the oft-told Hollywood story.

“Beale Street,” set in early-1970s Harlem, was also snubbed in the best picture field, which includes “Black Panther,” the first comic book superhero movie to make it into the coveted category, and the Queen biopic, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which triumphed over mixed reviews and the firing of its director, Bryan Singer, but became a rousing favorite with audiences.

Jenkins’ nomination for adapting Baldwin’s book had to come as a bit of a surprise for the director. He hadn’t read the book, despite being a fan of the author, until a pal told him he ought to adapt it for the screen, Entertainment Weekly reported.

Jenkins quickly fell in love with Baldwin’s “lush” writing voice in “Beale Street” and told EW he wanted to ensure Baldwin’s “voice” came through his script.

“Mr. Baldwin was a very provocative writer and I wanted his voice to be a large part of the movie, so I used the lavish nature of his language as an inspiration when trying to visually translate the words as images,” Jenkins said.

After graduating from Northwestern Senior, where he played football, Jenkins graduated from Florida State University’s film school in 2003.

Jenkins is based in Los Angeles, but making “Moonlight” in Liberty City rekindled his love for his hometown, he told the Miami Herald in 2016.

“Maybe if I had seen somebody walking around a movie set like this in my neighborhood when I was a kid, I would have gotten to filmmaking a lot sooner.”

Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson and Hailee Steinfeld in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Miami native Phil Lord co-wrote and was one of the producers. Sony Pictures Animation TNS

As for Lord, he, along with filmmaking partner Christopher Miller, is thrilled the innovative “Spider-Verse” has met with such a rapturous response from audiences and within the industry.

“It is amazing to see how this movie has really inspired people to spread the word,” Lord told Deadline Hollywood. “One of our directors, Rodney Rothman, calls it the ‘first word-of-mouth’ Spider-Man film and he’s totally right.”

Here are some of the major category nominations for the 91st Academy Awards. The Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on Feb. 24. “Roma” and “The Favourite” lead with 10 nominations apiece.

Marco Graf as Pepe, Daniela Demesa as Sofi, Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marina De Tavira as Sofia, Diego Cortina Autrey as Toño, Carlos Peralta Jacobson as Paco in “Roma,” written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Aparicio becomes the second Mexican best actress Oscar nominee. Carlos Somonte Netflix

Best Picture (award goes to the producer)

“Black Panther” (Kevin Feige).

“BlacKkKlansman” (Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele and Spike Lee).

“Bohemian Rhapsody” (Graham King).

“The Favourite” (Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday and Yorgos Lanthimos).

“Green Book” (Jim Burke, Charles B. Wessler, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga).

“Roma” (Gabriela Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuarón).

“A Star Is Born” (Bill Gerber, Bradley Cooper and Lynette Howell Taylor).

“Vice” (Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Adam McKay and Kevin Messick).


Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma.”

Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite.”

Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman.”

Adam McKay, “Vice.”

Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War.”

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Bradley Cooper, left, and Lady Gaga in a scene from “A Star is Born.” On Jan. 22, 2019, the film’s Oscar nominations included best picture, actress (Lady Gaga) and actor (Bradley Cooper). Warner Bros. Pictures AP


Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma.”

Glenn Close, “The Wife.”

Olivia Colman, “The Favourite.”

Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born.”

Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”


Christian Bale, “Vice.”

Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born.”

Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate.”

Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book.”

Supporting Actress

Amy Adams, “Vice.”

Marina de Tavira, “Roma.”

Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk.”

Emma Stone, “The Favourite.”

Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite.”

Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book.”

Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman.”

Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born.”

Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Sam Rockwell, “Vice.”

For a full list visit,

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Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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