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Miami-Made “Moonlight” Shines At The Oscars

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A couple of Norland Middle School students won’t be in class on Monday, but they’ve got a really, really good excuse.

Alex Hibbert, 12, and Jaden Piner, 13, two of the young stars of the Miami-made “Moonlight” were in Los Angeles on Sunday, where they attended the 89th Academy Awards and watched their film win the Oscar for “Best Picture” after a mix up on the podium.

Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho offered hearty congratulations via Twitter.

“Moonlight” was given the nod for Best Picture after a mix up on the podium which had Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty announcing that “La La Land” had won.

The night’s biggest award wasn’t the only one for the film, Mahershala Ali won for Best Supporting Actor and it also picked up the nod for Best Adapted Screenplay – screenplay by Barry Jenkins, story by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

“Moonlight” is a coming of age movie about a child growing up in Liberty City and his struggle to survive poverty, drugs and accepting his sexuality. McCraney based the movie on his life growing up in Miami. Jenkins is also from Miami.

“Thank you to our amazing, phenomenal cast, thank you to my mom, my sister, everybody in Miami,” said Jenkins during his acceptance speech.

“We can really be here, two boys from Liberty City on this stage representing 305, this goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls, and non-gender conforming, who don’t see themselves. We are trying to show you, you and us, so thank you, thank you, this is for you,” said McCraney.

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In addition to Hibbert and Piner, several others students in Norland Middle School’s magnet program were extras in the movie.

“It’s very inspirational and like I can put that on my resume as saying I was in a movie that won three Oscars,” said drama student Eddie Blanchard.

Monday morning Norland Middle Principal Ronald Redmond said he was extremely proud of Hibbert, Piner, their drama teacher Tanisha Seidel and all took part in the film.

GALLERY: Who Wore What: The 89th Annual Ac

“We want to make sure that we recognize the awesome, awesome work of Miss Tanisha Cidel and our magnet students from drama of winning not one, not two but three Oscar awards,” said Redmond. “This is breath taking, no doubt about it, I mean the feeling that we got last night, I mean from the very beginning, last summer when this project started, and to see it come to full fruition, to see what the students have been able to accomplish, the work that this magnet program has done over the years, it’s just a feeling I don’t think you can describe.”

Many saw the win by “Moonlight” as major upset over “La La Land” which had received a record-tying 14 nominations and was the favorite for Best Picture going into the show.

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