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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A movie made in Miami about life in Miami is nominated for eight Academy Awards.
Some of the young actors are current Miami-Dade County Public Schools students.
CBS4’s Lauren Pastrana was with one of them when he found out the film “Moonlight” was in Oscar contention.
“I think eight nominations is a fantastic reward for hard work and inspiration right here in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, so I am proud, and I think Jaden is proud,” Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said Tuesday morning at Norland Middle School.
Jaden Piner plays Kevin in “Moonlight”, the childhood best friend of the main character, also played by a Norland student.
He says his drama teacher pushed him to audition for the role.
“Ms. Cidel has been my biggest inspiration,” Piner told Pastrana. “She says ‘Jaden you have to stay humble. Stay grounded’.”
The film chronicles the life of a young man from boyhood on the streets of Liberty City.
For many, the movie is a chance to show a side of Miami people rarely see on the big screen.
“There are so many stories, against this beautiful backdrop, that people don’t know. Those are the stories we’re going to tell. The real stories of people who live here and work and can’t afford things,” Tanisha Cidel explained. “And that’s why it resonates with so many people across the world.”
Superintendent Carvalho was with Cidel and Piner as the nominations were announced, and he had an announcement of his own.
“I think it’s appropriate to designate that ‘Mega Magnet’ right here at Norland Middle,” Carvalho said, explaining the incredible music, dance and drama programs at the school make it perfect for the “mega-magnet” title.
That means the school will get extra funding and focus on the arts, including Ms. Cidel’s thriving drama program.
“You just get overwhelmed that people buy into what we are doing here and that we’re on the map. It’s just such an amazing feeling to know that it came from Miami-Dade public schools and everybody came together to make this beautiful film.”
Cidel is hoping to go to the Academy Awards show in L.A. Jaden says he’ll be there adding that he even has his tuxedo picked out.
Superintendent Carvalho says he will have a watch party with teachers and school district staff.
The film won the Golden Globe for best Motion Picture Drama, and is now in the running for eight Oscars including Best Support Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.