At its annual awards show – one of the final indicators of which way the winds of Oscar buzz may be blowing before the Academy Awards – the Writers Guild of America honored “Moonlight,” the poetic story of a gay black youth’s coming of age in Miami, and the cerebral sci-fi film “Arrival.”
Only two films were nominated Tuesday for the GLAAD Media Awards in the best wide-released film category, a sharp reduction from as many as five movies normally recognized and an indication that there may be a diversity regression when it comes to LGBTQ representation.
The critical accolades bestowed on “Moonlight” — it swept the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. awards and earned multiple honors at the Gotham Awards and from the New York Film Critics Circle — are richly deserved, but director and screenwriter Barry Jenkins’ achievement is even more impressive when you consider how little time the cast had together to bring the film to life.
Since Labor Day weekend, Barry Jenkins has screened his new film, “Moonlight,” to enthusiastic audiences at seven prestigious festivals, collected near unanimous praise from critics for its tender portrait of black masculinity and closed a deal to adapt one of the hottest novels of the year, Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad,” for television.
A professional actor since age 9, London-born Naomie Harris has played a post-apocalyptic survivor (“28 Days Later”), an updated Moneypenny (“Skyfall,” “Spectre”) and a voodoo witch for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise.
WATCH: When Barry Jenkins directed Naomie Harris in “Moonlight,” he realized that following his emotional response to serendipitous moments in front of the camera was sometimes more important than strictly following the script.
While writer-director Barry Jenkins was shooting his new movie, “Moonlight,” in Miami’s Liberty Square neighborhood, residents gathered around the filmmaker, who grew up in the area nicknamed “the Pork & Beans,” to enjoy a rare sight. “ ‘Miami Vice’ does not shoot in the Pork & Beans,” Jenkins said.
Amid the recent programming announcements for fall festivals, one film has quietly slipped into some of the year’s most prestigious slots, setting it up as a possible surprise discovery for the coming awards season.
When talking about writing the screenplay for “Moonlight,” filmmaker Barry Jenkins told The Times recently that there’s no way he could have made the movie without Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” as a starting point.
“Moonlight,” the lush coming-of-age drama of a young black man grappling with his sexuality and a harsh upbringing amid the Miami drug war era, was named best film of 2016 by the National Society of Film Critics on Saturday.