First, the presumed winner for that category, “La La Land,” erroneously “won.” Then the Academy slowly informed the room that there had been a mistake and “Moonlight” had actually earned the award. In what remains an internal mystery, presenters for this final and most prestigious award, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, walked onstage with the wrong card to reveal the winner.
Despite this turmoil, “Moonlight” deservedly came out on top. In an aggregate for the movies critics thought were the best in 2016, “Moonlight” was solidly in first place. The movie also got at 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
So how did the people behind “Moonlight” make such a widely-beloved movie?
In large part, the key was authenticity, which is often the case with great art.
As various creators of “Moonlight” describe in the above exclusive video provided to The Huffington Post, much care was devoted to basing this movie on reality from start to finish.
Co-screenwriter Tarell Alvin McCraney based the story largely on his early life in Miami, while director and co-screenwriter Barry Jenkins came from a similar situation in Miami. Then, the creators chose to integrate the city deeply into the movie.
“Tarell’s writing just described Miami in a way that I hadn’t seen described before,” Jenkins said at the beginning of the clip. “It was personal.”
In the clip, producer Adele Romanski further expanded on what Jenkins brought to the job. “It’s where he grew up,” said Romanski. “We were filming on blocks that he used to live on.”
Jenkins apparently wanted much of the supporting cast to be from Miami and had a desire to make sure his crew was truly knowledgeable about the area, as well. “He’d share some of his experiences with the crew,” explained Romanski, to help ground the people working on the movie and help them connect with the neighborhood.
In a bit longer explanation, Jenkins said:
There’s so many biographical elements in this movie. The only way I could see them being represented in their most authentic form was to place them against the backdrop that inspired them, which was Miami.
“Moonlight” is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Tuesday.
Here’s the trailer: