Last year major discussion highlighted a lack of racial diversity among the nominees in major categories, which consisted of all twenty of the acting nominations and four out of five directors being Caucasian. Prompting racial equality activist and former attorney April Reign to tweet about the snub of non-Caucasian’s for nominations, creating the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
“It’s actually worse than last year. Best Documentary and Best Original Screenplay. That’s it. #OscarsSoWhite.” – April Reign
So that brings us to this years Oscar nominations and in a complete contrast to last year, the Oscar nominations have a different look about them.
The Academy has put the two years of #OscarsSoWhite behind them, as it nominated six black actors, and the Best Picture category included 3 films of diverse nature in Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Fences.
“I hope I wasn’t nominated because I was black. That has no relevance. I hope I was nominated for my work.” – Mahershala Ali
The six black actors who received Oscar nods are; Denzel Washington (Fences – Actor in a Leading Role), Ruth Negga (Loving – Actress in a Leading Role), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight – Actor in a Supporting Role), Viola Davis (Fences – Actress in a Supporting Role), Naomie Harris (Moonlight – Actress in a Supporting Role) Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures – Actress in a Supporting Role).
Actor in a Supporting Role nominee (Moonlight) Mahershala Ali told the Hollywood Reporter that he appreciates The Academy working to diversify its membership following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, to which Ali said, “I hope I wasn’t nominated because I was black. That has no relevance. I hope I was nominated for my work.”
15 nominations throughout all categories were shared between the 3 diverse films that featured in the Best Picture category, with Moonlight receiving the bulk of the nominations with 8 (Best Picture, Actor in Supporting Role, Actress in Supporting Role, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Music and Best Adapted Screenplay). Fences received 4 (Best Picture, Actor in Leading Role, Actress in Supporting Role and Best Adapted Screenplay) and 3 went to Hidden Figures (Best Picture, Actress in Supporting Role and Best Adapted Screenplay) showing The Academy responded to the backlash and has amended its membership giving more invitations for women and minorities to become members of The Academy.
Of the five documentaries honoured with a nomination, 4 of them were directed by black filmmakers (13th, I Am Not Your Negro, O.J.: Made in America and Life Animated) again showing that The Academy is moving toward being more diverse and embracing and recognising the black community in the industry.
However, The Academy dodged one bullet and collected another, as discourse rose over the last few weeks around the focus not being solely on just the black minority being misrepresented, but all minorities being misrepresented in the industry, particularly from the Latino community.
So it will be interesting to see what happens at next years announcement for Oscar nominations, but for now we wait until the 26th of February to find out who takes home the statues.