Moonlight is a 2016 American coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Barry Jenkins and based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. It stars Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe, Ashton Sanders, Jharrel Jerome, Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali.
The film presents three stages in the life of the main character. It explores the difficulties he faces with his own sexuality and identity, including the physical and emotional abuse he receives as a result of it. Filmed in Miami, Florida, beginning in 2015, Moonlight premiered at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2016. Distributed by A24, the film was released in the United States on October 21, 2016, and has grossed over $55 million worldwide against a $1.5 million budget.
Moonlight received critical acclaim upon its release. At the 74th Golden Globe Awards it won Best Motion Picture – Drama and was nominated in five other categories. The film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali and Best Adapted Screenplay for Jenkins and McCraney, from a total of eight nominations.
Moonlight became the first film with an all-black cast, the first LGBT film, and the second lowest-grossing film domestically (behind The Hurt Locker) to win the Best Picture award. The film’s editor, Joi McMillon, became the first black woman to be nominated for an editing Oscar (alongside co-editor Nat Sanders), and Ali became the first Muslim to win an acting Oscar.