Ashton Sanders

Ashton Durrand Sanders (born October 24, 1995)[2] is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayal of teenage Chiron in the Academy Award-winning film Moonlight (2016).

Ashton Sanders
Ashton Sanders.jpg
Ashton Durrand Sanders[1]

(1995-10-24) October 24, 1995 (age 25)
EducationDePaul University
Years active2012–present

Early lifeEdit

Sanders was born in Carson, California. He attended Grand Arts High School in Downtown Los Angeles, from which he graduated in 2013.[3] He was studying towards a BFA at The Theatre School at DePaul University, before leaving after three years in 2016 to focus on his acting career.[4]


Sanders made his film debut in The Retrieval, directed by Chris Eska.[5] The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 11, 2013.[6] It was released in a limited release on April 2, 2014 by Variance Films.[7][8]

In 2015, Sanders had a small role in Straight Outta Compton.[9] In 2016, he appeared in an episode of Refinery29's web series The Skinny.[10]

The same year, Sanders appeared in the drama film Moonlight, directed by Barry Jenkins.[11] The film had its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival on September 2, 2016, and began a limited release on October 21, 2016 by A24.[12][13] Moonlight received massive critical acclaim as well dozens of accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture – Drama.[14] The film also won three Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.[15] Sanders' role in the film was praised by critics;[16] Benjamin Lee of The Guardian called his performance "powerful".[17]

Sanders co-starred in The Equalizer 2, a sequel to the hit action film The Equalizer, opposite Denzel Washington.[18] In 2019, Sanders starred in Rupert Wyatt's science fiction thriller film Captive State, opposite John Goodman and Vera Farmiga.[19] He also played the lead in HBO's adaptation of the novel Native Son.



Year Title Role Notes
2012 Making Possibilities[20] Donnie Short film
2013 The Retrieval Will
2015 Straight Outta Compton Kid
2016 Moonlight Teen Chiron Austin Film Critics Association Special Honorary Award for Best Ensemble
Gotham Special Jury Award – Ensemble Performance
Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award
MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
We Home Javan Short film
The Last Virgin in LA Josh Short film
2018 The Equalizer 2 Miles Whittaker
The Kids Are Alright Angel Short film based on the Grammy-nominated album The Kids Are Alright by American R&B duo Chloe x Halle
2019 Native Son Bigger Thomas
Captive State Gabriel Drummond
2020 All Day and a Night Jahkor
2021 Judas and the Black Messiah Jimmy Palmer

Television seriesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2016 The Skinny Tyler Episode: "Squad"
2019 Wu-Tang: An American Saga Bobby/The RZA Series regular


  1. ^ "Ashton Durrand Sanders (@ashtondsanders) • Instagram photos and videos".
  2. ^ Robehmed, Natalie (January 6, 2017). "Meet Ashton Sanders, Star Of 'Moonlight' And 30 Under 30 Honoree". Forbes.
  3. ^ Duncan, Fiona. "ASHTON SANDERS". Wonderland Magazine. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  4. ^ Cuby, Michael. ""Moonlight"'s Ashton Sanders Opens Up About Being Bullied". Teen Vogue. Retrieved March 6, 2017.
  5. ^ Harris, Brandon (April 3, 2014). "Battle Cry: Chris Eska on The Retrieval". Filmmaker Magazine. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  6. ^ "The Retrieval". South by Southwest. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (February 13, 2014). "SXSW Winner 'The Retrieval' Gets US Distribution". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  8. ^ "The Retrieval". Apple Trailers. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  9. ^ Phillips, Michael (September 15, 2016). "'Moonlight' reveals struggles of a young African-American man". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "The Skinny". Refinery29. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (October 21, 2015). "Naomie Harris, Andre Holland, Mahershala Ali to Star in 'Moonlight'". Variety. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Hammond, Pete (September 1, 2016). "Telluride Film Festival Lineup: 'Sully', 'La La Land', 'Arrival', 'Bleed For This' & More". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  13. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 28, 2016). "A24 Sets Dates For 'Moonlight' & Cannes Jury Prize Winner 'American Honey'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  14. ^ Berman, Eliza. "'Moonlight' Wins Golden Globe for Best Picture, Drama". Time. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  15. ^ Opam, Kwame (January 24, 2017). "Oscar nominations 2017: Moonlight and La La Land will go head-to-head at the Academy Awards". The Verge. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  16. ^ "Meet 'Moonlight' Star Ashton Sanders". Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Lee, Benjamin (April 22, 2017). "Moonlight's Ashton Sanders: 'America isn't made for the black man'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Jr, Mike Fleming (August 24, 2017). "'Moonlight's Ashton Sanders Lands A Lead In 'Equalizer 2'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "'Moonlight' Breakout Ashton Sanders Joins John Goodman in 'Captive State' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  20. ^ Shand, Rohan, Making Possibilities, Mandy Aceves-Lopez, Karina Maddox, Ashton Sanders, retrieved October 24, 2017

External linksEdit