Golden Globe and Oscar winner Moonlight is a chronicle of the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of a young, African-American gay man – Chiron – growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. Written and directed by Barry Jenkins, the film was shot with only $1.5 million and went on to earn almost $60 million worldwide. The film had six Golden Globe nominations, winning only one, albeit the most prestigious - Best Picture – Drama. The award preceded the Oscar for Best Movie of the year, although an “envelope malfunction” almost deprived Moonlight of its crown, for a moment handing the prize to La La Land (thanks to a confused accountant and an infamous misreading by presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway).
At the 74th Golden Globe Awards, Moonlight – with no malfunction at all – prevailed in the Drama section over Hell or High Water, Lion, Manchester by the Sea and Hacksaw Ridge. Moonlight’s Naomi Harris was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but Viola Davis won for Fences. Mahershala Ali was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but Aaron Taylor-Johnson won for Nocturnal Animals. Barry Jenkins was nominated at the Globes for Best Director and Best Screenwriter, but Damien Chazelle prevailed for La La Land in both categories (Jenkins won as screenwriter at the Academy Awards – he adapted from Tarell Alvin McCraney's unpublished semi-autobiographical play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue). “Please, tell a friend, tell a friend, tell a friend,” Barry Jenkins said accepting the Best Picture award at the Golden Globes, trying to boost the art film’s box office performance.
A major theme of Moonlight is the black male identity and its interactions with sexual identity. The film takes the form of a triptych in order to explore the path of a man from a neglected childhood, through an angry adolescence, to self-realization and fulfillment in adulthood. Very delicately, Moonlight touched some of our society's most sensitive nerves.