In contrast to previous years’ Oscars, this year moviegoers are rejoicing for the large growth in black nominees after a 2 year drought known as #OscarsSoWhite.
The past two years the Oscars have been on the receiving line of discontent with their choices of nominees, who have been prominently white. A “drought”, as some people put it, have highlighted how most members who were nominated were white men, despite many accomplishments of people of color and women in past years. So, it came with joy and surprise when six black actors were honored this year, a new record for The Academy.
The actors recognized this year were: Denzel Washington nominated for best actor in “Fences”, Ruth Negga for best actress in “Loving”, Mahershala Ali for supporting actor in “Moonlight”, Viola Davis for supporting actress in “Fences”, Octavia Spencer for supporting actress in “Hidden Figures” and Naomie Harris for supporting actress in “Moonlight”.
This year also brought multiple nominations for documentaries based around black narratives. The topics covering such things as; race and mass incarceration in Ava DuVernay’s “13th”, James Baldwin’s history and the civil-rights era in Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro” and more from Roger Ross Williams’s “Life, Animated”.
The last time more than one black actor was nominated was 2014 . This also makes it the first time since 2007 more than three black actors were recognized. Despite this year’s Oscars being notable for plentiful nominations for black actors, many pointed out the lack of nominations for other minority groups. There was only one nomination for an Indian actor, with Dev Patel to be nominated for his supporting role in “Lion”, and there were no nominations for hispanic actors or directors.
While this year’s Oscars is much more diverse than years previous, the lack of diversity in Hollywood is still an obvious issue of much contention. Moviegoers across the world hope that this shift in nominees is proof of an overall attitude change towards actors and directors of color.
By Katherine McCormrick