Moonlight tipped for Oscars victory after taking top prize at Writers Guild Awards

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Gay drama Moonlight triumphed over La La Land to take the top prizes at the Writers Guild Awards – and hopes are high for a similar Oscars upset.

Moonlight, which stars Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders and Alex Hibbert, explores the life of a African-American boy at different ages – portraying him struggling to reconcile his sexuality and identity.

The film has picked up a string of award nominations, one of the only LGBT-themed films in contention for major cinema awards this year.

Ahead of this Sunday’s Oscars, Moonlight last night triumphed at the Writers Guild of America Awards, edging out firm favourite La La Land to scoop the top prize.

Moonlight won Best Original Screenplay, triumphing over the musical drama as well as Hell or High Water, Loving and Manchester by the Sea.

Screenwriter and director Barry Jenkins accepted the award, thanking the string of people who were crucial in helping make the film.

The director also referenced the film’s deeply personal nature – previously explaining that scenes featuring drug-addicted mother Paula (Naomie Harris) drew inspiration from his own life growing up – adding that writing can “bring you closer to who you are”.

The film has been praised by critics and LGBT people alike for its “exploration of gay black masculinity… managing to do so without ever diminishing the lives full of complex humanity that black gay men still manage to have in America while navigating that reality”.

After the victory, fans of the film are holding out hope that it can also pull off Oscars victories over La La Land – which had previously been expected to sweep up awards.

At the Oscars Moonlight is nominated for Best Picture, Cinematography, Original Score, Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay, while Barry Jenkins got a nod for Best Directing.

Meanwhile Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali landed respective Best Supporting Actress and Actor nominations.

La La Land, which stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, picked up a total of 14 Oscar nominations.