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No LGBTQ Film Has Ever Won Best Picture. Could 'Moonlight' Be First?

Could "Moonlight" break through the “lavender ceiling” that’s hung over LGBTQ Best Picture nominees for years?
Image: Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in "Moonlight"
Mahershala Ali and Alex R. Hibbert in "Moonlight."A24

“Moonlight,” a coming-of-age drama that chronicles the life and self-discovery of a Black gay man in Miami, has garnered eight Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. The critically acclaimed film is not only the first movie about Black gay men to achieve mainstream success, but it also stands a chance to become the first LGBTQ film to take the top prize at the Academy Awards.

Film fans cried foul when “Carol,” a lesbian love story starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, was snubbed for a Best Picture nomination in 2016, but now “Moonlight” provides another chance for an LGBTQ history-making moment. Even if “Moonlight” doesn’t win, however, some see the nomination alone as progress.

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“Congratulations to #Moonlight on a well-deserved nomination. This should be a signal to filmmakers to tell more diverse stories. #Oscars,” GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted on Tuesday.

“U.S. films reach audiences around the world. The global impact of inclusive and diverse stories is massive and changes hearts and minds,” Ellis wrote in a separate tweet.

"Moonlight" poster.
"Moonlight" poster.A24

What gives fans of “Moonlight” hope that it might succeed where films like “Carol,” “The Danish Girl,” “Boys Don’t Cry,” “Philadelphia,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “The Hours” and others have failed?

For starters, the 2017 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences—the body that votes on the Oscars—is the most diverse in history. After #OscarsSoWhite became a trending topic in 2015, the Academy buckled under public pressure to transform its largely white male membership.

RELATED: #OscarsSoBlack: ‘Moonlight,’ ‘Fences’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ Get Nods

In June, the Academy formally invited 683 new members, 46 percent of whom were female, while 41 percent were people of color. The voting pool for last year’s Oscar? Of its 6,261 members, more than 90 percent were white and 75 percent were male.

Now, it remains to be seen whether a more diverse Academy will break the “lavender ceiling” that’s hung over LGBTQ Best Picture nominees for years.

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