Spirit Awards: 'Moonlight' Director Barry Jenkins and Cast Receive Robert Altman Award

"We just wanna say, we love all of you!" 12-year-old Alex Hibbert, who plays lead character Chiron in the drama's first chapter, said at the podium.

Moonlight was honored with the Robert Altman Award at the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday.

The honor was given to director-writer Barry Jenkins, casting director Yesi Ramirez and the ensemble cast, including Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monae, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Patrick Decile.

Jenkins kept his acceptance speech short, allowing Ramirez and the castmembers more time at the podium.

"It really is an incredible honor to be onstage with this extraordinary group of actors. The future is pretty bright," Holland said, before thanking writer Tarell Alvin McCraney for sharing his story. "Thank you for giving us the material to explore these things."

Ramirez, who admitted she wasn't used to being in front of the camera, added, "I worked with an amazing group of people that I call family."

Young breakout stars Hibbert and Piner then made their way to the front of the stage. Hibbert brought down the podium mic to say, "We just wanna say, we love all of you! This wouldn't have been possible without all of you — my amazing castmembers." 

Kerry Washington presented the award to the cast, calling it a film "extraordinary in its power and honesty." "Oh dear lord, I love this movie," she added. "In witnessing it, we are forever transformed."

The award was preceded by a video reel of interviews with Jenkins and the castmembers explaining the film's importance. "Moonlight is a story of hope and embracing the things that make you unique," Monae said.

Though none of the film's castmembers were nominated in acting categories, Jenkins scored a win for best director and best screenplay (with McCraney).

Earlier in the show, Moonlight also took home awards for best cinematography and editing.

John Mulaney and Nick Kroll hosted the 32nd annual Independent Spirit Awards, which took place in Santa Monica Saturday afternoon.

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