Oscar Nominations Reflect Diversity in Hollywood

Oscars 2017 – Not ‘So White’ Anymore

By Elizabeth Stainton

Remember last year’s Academy Awards and the hashtag #OscarSoWhite? Not this time. This year, six black actors were nominated for their work in films that championed diversity. These films include Fences, which stars Denzel Washington and is based on August Wilson’s iconic play about African-American life in Pittsburgh.Barry Jenkins’ drama Moonlight has been nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Bond Fans might recognize Naomie Harris from her role as Moneypenny. She received a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role in Moonlight. Also nominated was Ruth Negga, who was recognized for her role in Loving, a film about interracial love during the Civil Rights Era. Richard and Mildred Loving were an interracial couple who were arrested for miscegenation and whose legal battle ended up in the Supreme Court.

Hidden Figures stars three dynamic African American actresses: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe. Hidden Figures, which tells the true, little-known story of the women of color who worked at NASA during the Space Race. Spencer was nominated for best supporting actress, scoring one for intersectional feminism.That’s what is so important about these nominations.

Not only do they recognize talented black actors, but they recognize cinema work that advances the narrative in a meaningful way. It’s of particular significance this year, when the country has been deeply affected the ongoing conversation surrounding institutionalized racism, police violence, and the Black Lives Matter movement. #OscarSoDiverse