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Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight: An Oscar for the Marginalized

PHOTO: A24 Films


“This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender-conforming [people] who don’t see themselves.” — Tarell Alvin McCraney, accepting the 2017 adapted screenplay Oscar for Moonlight with Barry Jenkins.

The 2017 Oscars was as politically charged as expected. From host Jimmy Kimmel’s mocking of the president during his opening monologue to Ava DuVernay’s conscious decision to wear a gown by a Lebanese designer, a multitude of A-listers used the 89th Academy Awards’ platform to highlight injustice promoted by the Trump administration’s foreign and domestic policies.

But the biggest demonstration against Mr. Trump’s regime was not found in the blue ribbons many celebrities wore in support of the American Civil Liberties union; it was in the seemingly miraculous best picture victory of the underdog Moonlight, a movie representing those often shunted to the margins of society: black and LGBTQ Americans. The fact that the win was originally handed to “La La Land,” a film that glorified old, white Hollywood, then rescinded after the mistake was realized, added to the unreality of it all — and the symbolism of the achievement.

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Angelo Louw
Angelo C. Louw
Angelo C Louw is the Advocacy Officer at Studies in Poverty and Inequality Institute (SPII). He is also a Fulbright/Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship 2016-2017 awardee. He writes in his personal capacity.