Following master of ceremonies Jimmy Kimmel’s latest jabs at frequent feuder Matt Damon, the latter and his Good Will Hunting writing partner, Ben Affleck presented Kenneth Lonergan with the Best Original Screenplay trophy for Manchester By the Sea. Lonergan, who was also nominated for the Best Director Oscar but lost out to La La Land‘s Damien Chazelle, graciously accepted the award minutes before the film’s lead, Casey Affleck, would do the same for Best Actor.
Yet the true spark of the writing awards’ presentations game when Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins, who also directed the film, and Tarell Alvin McCraney came onstage to accept their trophies for Best Adapted Screenplay. Following a laundry list of people and organizations in need of thanks, Jenkins dug deep by invoking his chief instruction to his students. “Be in love with the process, not the result,” he said, adding: “All you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life’s not reflected. The Academy has your back. The ACLU has your back. We have your back, and for the next four years we will not leave you alone. We will not forget you.”
“This goes out to all those black and brown boy and girls, and non-gender conforming, who don’t see themselves,” McCraney concluded. “We’re trying to show you you and us, so thank you. Thank you. This is for you.”