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May 27, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

‘Moonlight’ featuring IC student receives Oscar nominations

“Moonlight” — the coming-of-age film featuring Ithaca College sophomore acting major Jharrel Jerome — was nominated for eight Oscar awards Jan. 24, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Mahershala Ali.

Directed and written by Barry Jenkins and the 2017 winner of the Best Motion Picture Golden Globe, “Moonlight” is one of nine films nominated for Best Picture. On Feb. 26, the film goes up against other Hollywood successes, including “Hidden Figures,” “Hell or High Water,” “Fences,” “Arrival,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Hacksaw Ridge” and “Manchester by the Sea.”

“Moonlight” is also nominated for Oscars for cinematography, directing, film editing, original score, production design and adapted screenplay.

This year, films with a diverse cast dominate the 2017 Oscar nominations, unlike last year, which prompted the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag controversy.

“Moonlight” took home the 2017 Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in the drama category Jan. 8 in Beverly Hills. The film was also nominated for five other awards that evening, including Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Score. Mahershala Ali was a contender for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a drug-dealing father-figure in “Moonlight.”

Jerome left Ithaca College during the Fall 2015 semester to work alongside Ali. In the film, Jerome plays 16-year-old Kevin, a friend of the protagonist, an African-American man who discovers his sexuality as he grows up. The film is based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney.

The film has previously been nominated for several awards, including Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards, and was featured at the Toronto International Film Festival. It won six awards from the 2017 African-American Film Critics Association and is currently nominated for eight Academy Awards.

Jerome previously spoke with The Ithacan about his experiences on the set of “Moonlight,” his passion for entertaining and the theater department at Ithaca College.
Jerome has also joined the cast of David E. Kelley’s upcoming adaptation of the Stephen King novel “Mr. Mercedes.” In the series, Jerome plays Jerome Robinson, a computer-savvy high school student who works for Bill Hodges (Brendan Gleeson). The series is set to be directed by Jack Bender, who previously worked on “Game of Thrones.” This is Jerome’s first television role and his first role following “Moonlight.”