Seventh-graders Alex Hibbert and Jaden Piner returned to middle school Wednesday as stars of an Oscar-winning film, but the ‘Moonlight’ actors still had to go back to basics with their classmates in drama class.
At Norland Middle School, they followed acting teacher Tanisha Cidel’s directions to crawl on the floor like lions and recite the tongue-twister 'red leather, yellow leather’ faster and faster.
Cidel played a principal in the film that also won Oscars for best supporting actor and best adapted screenplay.
In the communities where 'Moonlight’ was filmed, the movie has been lauded this week for its honest representation of life in black Miami, long overshadowed by the city’s glitzy hotels and hipster neighborhoods.
Writer-director Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play 'Moonlight’ is based on, both grew up in the Liberty City streets and schools depicted on screen.
Thirteen-year-old Jaden said he could relate to his character’s desire to help a friend, but Alex said the bullying his character suffers fortunately wasn’t something he had experienced.
Both boys said they figured it was a joke when the audience was belatedly told the top award went to 'Moonlight’ and not 'La La Land.’ In the confusion, they had to jump over other audience members to join the rest of their cast onstage.
'I jumped over this guy, and he was screaming, “What the –?” and I was like, “I’m sorry, I just won an award!”’ Alex said.
An Oscars highlight for both boys: meeting 'The Amazing Spider-Man’ actor Andrew Garfield.
Alvin??? Haha what a manchild, what a--*trips* *thousands of photos of Alvin spill from pockets* wh-what an asshole omg those aren't mine I'm holding them for a friend I-- *slips in pile of photos* fcking THEY'RE NOT MINE I SWEAR he's a liar and a traitor and totally irredeemable I hate him I-- *photos fall endlessly as I sob and try to pick them up* just listen ok JUST LISTEN--