Gay Drama ‘Moonlight’ Wins Best Picture Oscar

Critically acclaimed gay drama film Moonlight has won Best Picture at the Oscars, beating musical juggernaut La La Land to the top gong.

But first, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the winner at the Academy Awards ceremony on Monday Australian time, in surreal scenes that were blamed on an envelope mix-up.

The musical’s cast and crew had made it onto the stage to accept the top award from Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway when they were told there’d been a mistake, and Moonlight had won.

Director Barry Jenkins’s gay coming-of-age drama, hailed by critics as a cinematic masterpiece, is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s semi-autobiographical play and follows Chiron, a young man in Miami who’s struggling with his identity, his sexuality and his drug-addicted mother. Three different actors play the character at three different stages of his life.

Mahershala Ali also earlier won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Juan in the film, and Jenkins and McCraney won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non gender-conforming who don’t see themselves. We’re trying to show you you, so thank you. This is for you,” McCraney said, accepting the award.

“All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your live is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back,” Jenkins added.

“And for the next four years, we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you.”

In total, Moonlight scored eight Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Cinematography, Original Score, Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Directing. Star Naomie Harris also got a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role.

Moonlight won Best Picture at this year’s Golden Globes, as well as scoring five other nominations including Best Director and Best Screenplay.

It also won Best Feature and five other awards at the Independent Spirit Awards on the weekend, a ceremony honouring lower budget films.

Moonlight opened in Australian cinemas in late January and has scored rave reviews from critics around the world. The American Film Institute named it in early December as one of the ten best films of 2016.