Director Barry Jenkins, whose film Moonlight highlights questions of sexual identity and emotional fallout, has garnered eight Academy Award nominations yesterday. That, he says, shows that black people do not have to play subservient characters or victims of racism in order to win awards.
“I think the myth that you have to play a slave to win an Academy Award is just that . . . a myth,” he told Page Six. “I don’t even engage in that. I just tried to make the best film that had truthfulness to what I experienced growing up.”
But then Jenkins admitted that his comments came with a little irony: “OK, so this is funny. I am actually working on [adapting] the book ‘The Underground Railroad’ by Colson Whitehead.”
Moonlight has nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Supporting Role, among others. The Oscars will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26.