Moonlight director Barry Jenkins wins big at Gotham Awards after eight year hiatus

29th Nov 16 | Entertainment News

Moonlight, the coming-of-age story directed by Barry Jenkins, is tipped for Oscars glory after scooping four prizes at the Gotham Awards.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins

Moonlight is tipped for Oscars glory after winning the top prizes at the 26th annual Gotham Independent Awards in New York City on Monday (28Nov16).

The coming-of-age story from writer/director Barry Jenkins, won best feature, best screenplay, the special jury prize for best ensemble and the audience award for the coming of age story, based on a Tarell Alvin McCraney play about a young African-American man in Miami told through a series of three vignettes spanning more than a decade, beginning in the 1990's.

It was a sweet moment for the 37-year-old director, who reminded the audience, which included Oscar-winners such as Oliver Stone and Cate Blanchett, that he hadn't made a movie for eight years as he accepted his award.

"I was nominated for breakthrough director in 2008 and I didn't make a film between now and then," he said, reports the Los Angeles Times. "When you go eight years without making a (new) film you assume no one is going to watch it."

After the moderate success of his previous film, Medicine for Melancholy, Jenkins wrote two features which never got off the ground. He also worked as a carpenter, and co-founded an advertising company before joining the writing team on HBO's The Leftovers.

The cast of Moonlight, which includes James Bond Spectre star Naomie Harris, The Knick's Andre Holland, singer Janelle Monae and Luke Cage star Mahershala Ali, also received the special jury prize for best ensemble. When accepting the award, Ali said of the cast's experience: "I can confidently speak for all of us when I say we are forever changed".

Moonlight was released in October (17) in the U.S. to critical acclaim and is already garnering Oscars buzz.

The Gothams are one of the first of the award-season events that include the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes and the Oscars, and in recent years have become a reliable predictor of the movies that will do well in the latter events.

The 2015 and 2014 best feature winners at the Gotham Awards, Spotlight and Birdman, each went on to win best picture at the Oscars.

Accepting the feature prize, Jenkins said of his movie, which Cate called '"extraordinary", "These are marginal people and marginal lives. It's (great) there's a platform to centre these stories, because they're needed now more than ever."

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