After last year’s ‘Oscars So White’ controversy, with no person of color nominated in any of the 20 acting slots, the Academy expanded it’s membership to include more diversity to better reflect the industry. As a result, the 2017 Oscar nominations list was a very different story.
This year, of 20 actors up for awards, seven of them are non-white. In the Best Actress category, Ethiopian-born Ruth Negga scored a nomination for her emotional turn in Loving. And up for Best Actor is two-time Oscar winner, Denzel Washington, for his work in Fences which he also directed.
Storming into awards season, Mahershala Ali picked up a well-deserved nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category for his gripping performance in Moonlight. Dev Patel also picked up a nomination for his role in Lion.
In the Best Supporting Actress category, three of the five spots went to women of color as Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures), Viola Davis (Fences) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) scored nominations.
It is heartening to see progress being made and worthy performances being recognized on their own merit. As diverse as society is today, it is important that the full spectrum be represented in film and television and that actors of color are recognized for their work.
‘LOVING’ STILL: FOCUS FEATURES
‘HIDDEN FIGURES’ STILL: 20TH CENTURY FOX