Local cast, community celebrate made-in-Miami ‘Moonlight’ Oscar win

Despite the confusion over “Moonlight’s” Oscar win, the film made history as the first film with an all-black cast to win Best Picture. It was also shot right here in South Florida with many local actors. Deco’s Chris Van Vliet is here with some of the reactions to the film’s huge Oscar win.

“Moonlight” is set in Miami. Director Barry Jenkins is from here. The film was shot in Liberty City, so it should come as no surprise that the film’s Oscar win is resonating across South Florida.

It was a historic night for Barry Jenkins’ tale of a young gay man growing up in Liberty City. It took home the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

At the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City, residents attended a watch party and celebrated the film’s success.

Tangie Sands: “You go to the movies all the time, you pay all this money to see other people in the movies. To see your own kids, oh, man. It’s just absolutely fabulous.”

Right off an airplane, and a few hours after one of the biggest nights of his life, Patrick Decile talked about his life-changing role. The actor played a bully in the film.

Patrick Decile
Patrick Decile

Patrick Decile: “Life-changing, to be honest. I’m grateful to be a part of such a welcoming cast and crew who made me feel like family.”

He also described the shock he and the cast felt during the Oscars’ mix-up for Best Picture.

Patrick Decile: “For everyone — Barry, Dala, Andrew [Hevia] and all the actors — it was crazy, a crazy ride.”

The movie also stars two Norland Middle School students: Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner. The boys posed for a picture with their drama teacher, Tanisha Cidel, at the Oscars. She, too, had a role in the movie.

Ronald Raymon, principal, Norland Middle School: “To see them, the excitement they had, ’cause I know they worked so hard. They wanted this movie to be so successful. It was just really good to see one of your own onstage.”

And while the cast and crew of “Moonlight” are the current toast of the town in Hollywood, there’s plenty of love for the film right here in South Florida.

And how about this? The cast of “Moonlight” are now Calvin Klein underwear models.

Their new ad campaign is called “Revelation,” and for good reason, because they are revealing an awful lot. In one of the photos, Mahershala Ali is seen either taking off or putting on his shirt. (We’re thinking he’s taking it off.)

Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali

What a week for Mahershala! He became a father, an Oscar winner and an underwear model.

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