If Moonlight ever had any award locked in, it was one that celebrated its rich story. Writers Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney took the stage to accept the award for best adapted screenplay, besting other nominees Arrival, Lion, Hidden Figures and Fences.

In their time on stage, Jenkins and McCraney took a moment to reflect on the city they grew up in and to highlight the “black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves” and promise them that the Academy and the ACLU has their back.

Read their speeches below:


Barry Jenkins

Thank you to the Academy. Thank you a24. Thank you Plan B. Thank you Adele Romanski. Thank you our amazing phenomenal cast. Thank you my mom, my sister, everybody in Miami. I also want to thank my reps, the three amigos, Jay Baker at CAA, Joel Ross and Jamie Feldman, uh, and I have to thank two women in particular, my publicist Paula Woods and Heather Seacrest at a24, thank you for taking care of me. You know, I, told my students that I teach sometimes be in love with the process, not the result, but I really wanted this result because a bajillion people were watching. And for all you people out there who feel there is no mirror for you, that you feel your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back, and for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you.


Tarell Alvin McCraney

I just want to echo everything you just said and all those things, but I also want to say thank God for my mother, who’s proved to me through her struggles and the struggles Naomie Harris portrayed for all of you that we can really be here and be somebody. Two boys from Liberty City up here representing 305 — this goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming who don’t see themselves, we are trying to show you, you and us, so thank you, thank you, this is for you.