Moonlight's Barry Jenkins and Naomie Harris React to the Film's 8 Oscar Nominations

The 2017 Oscar nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, and although La La Land leads the pack with 14 nods, there's another strong contender in the race: Moonlight. The Golden Globe-winning drama, which parallels the real-life upbringings of director Barry Jenkins and writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, follows the story of a young, gay black man named Chiron throughout three pivotal stages of his life while growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood. It scored eight Oscar nominations, including best picture, best director for Barry, and best supporting actress for Naomie Harris. After hearing the nominations, Barry released a statement about the happy news. "It takes a village and this morning I was moved beyond words by the love that was shown by the Academy to so many of the wonderful people in our Moonlight village," he said. "I'm in Amsterdam at the moment, sharing Chiron's story a continent away with people of a different culture. That's what the spirit of these nominations signals to me: an affirmation that film has the power to erode barriers and reveal what makes us all human."

Naomie, who plays Chiron's emotionally abusive mother in the film, also reached out after learning of her best supporting actress nom. "Moonlight is touching many hearts at a time when people are seeking compassion and connection in the world," she wrote. "I am incredibly grateful to the Academy for recognizing my part of this story as well as my fellow Moonlight family. It has truly been an honor to share Barry Jenkins' and Tarell McCraney's beautiful journey." Naomie is up against Viola Davis (Fences), Nicole Kidman (Lion), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) in her category, while Barry competes with Denis Villeneuve (Arrival), Mel Gibson, (Hacksaw Ridge), Damien Chazelle (La La Land), and Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea).