Moonlight's Barry Jenkins doesn't feel any Oscars pressure

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 12 January 2017
Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins

'Moonlight' director Barry Jenkins says he doesn't feel pressured to win the Best Director Oscar, a feat that would make him the first African American to do so

Barry Jenkins doesn't feel under any pressure to win an Oscar for his movie 'Moonlight'.

The 37-year-old filmmaker is fancied to make the shortlist for the Best Director prize at the Academy Awards - which take place on February 26 - when the nominations are announced for his acclaimed drama and if he were to win he would become the first African American to take home the honour.

Despite the praise heaped upon his movie, Jenkins has no expectations about even being nominated and isn't thinking about the historical significance if he were to win.

In an interview with the new US edition of Esquire magazine, he said: "We can't safely assume anything. We shouldn't, we won't, and we can't. It's not because no black director has ever been worthy of being nominated for Best Director. That's just not the case. The same way Kathryn [Bigelow] is the first woman to win Best Director (for 'Hurt Locker'). She's certainly not the first woman to merit that distinction."

In the Oscars 87 year history, only 14 men and women of colour have won Oscars for Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor or Supporting Actress, including Denzel Washington who has two golden statuettes for his performances in 'Glory' and 'Training Day'.

Jenkins were to win he would be delighted but the cultural significance would be a bigger moment for the Academy than for him personally.

He explained: "What it would mean for me is very different from what it would mean for the Academy or what it would mean for this and that. The work I did was not engineered towards breaking down some barriers. But also, the barrier is not mine to break down. The barrier belongs to the Academy. That's all I'll say about that.

"I don't like to talk about that stuff at all - because it has nothing to do with the film. We made the film a year ago, and whether I'm nominated, the movie's nominated, whether we're nominated and we win or lose, it's not going to fundamentally change the film. I'll feel that way, whether we win, whether we're nominated, whether we're not. And I kind of have to. Because if I don't, I'm allowing these outside things to take possession of my thing, you know? Which is not acceptable."

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