The Academy have avoided another year of diversity controversy, ensuring that black actors and creatives are represented in a most categories at this year’s Oscars Ceremony.
While star-studded musical, La La Land received 14 nominations and is the favourite to clean up on Oscar night, Moonlight also received an impressive 8 nominations including Best Director and Best Picture.
Among the nominees were Viola Davis who is the first black woman to receive 3 Oscar nominations. A far cry from Meryl Streep’s 20 but notable none the less. Davis has been nominated as Best Supporting Actress for, Fences. Also in her category are our Naomie Harris for, Moonlight and Octavia Spencer for, Hidden Figures. The first time in history 3 black women have received nominations in the same category.
Newcomer Ruth Negga was widely predicted to earn a Best Actress nod for, Loving her first major lead role, and although there was a brief mix-up with Amy Adams listed instead of Negga, the Academy swiftly corrected the error and confirmed that Negga is up for Best Actress. Another first, in that Negga is the first Irish-Ethiopian actress to be nominated in this category. I would be remiss not to mention Taraji P Henson who did not pick up a nomination for Hidden Figures. An unfortunate and unfair omission in my opinion.
There were also nominations for Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali for, Moonlight and another one of ours Dev Patel for, Lion.
Denzel Washington will be celebrating with two nominations. He once again gains a Best Actor nod for, Fences and is also the producer of, Fences which is nominated for Best Picture. This is Denzel’s seventh Actor nomination He last won in 2013 for Flight, and famously in 2002 for his role as a bad cop in, Training Day, the same year Halle Berry picked up Best Actress for Monster’s Ball making the pair the first black actors to win the main Actor categories in the same year.
Best Picture nominations sees four films led by a non-white cast and nominations for three black producers; Fences (Denzel Washington); Hidden Figures, (Pharrell Williams); Lion and Moonlight. Manchester Sea, starring Casey Affleck & Michelle Williams, puts producer Kimberly Steward in position as the first black woman to be nominated for Best Picture since Oprah Winfrey for, Selma in 2015.
Barry Jenkins became only the fourth black director to be nominated for Best Director for, Moonlight. Also, award-winning playwrights Tarell McCraney and the legendary & award-winning August Wilson both earned nods for Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight and Fences respectively. Both films adapted from powerful plays by both writers.
The Documentary Feature category is also set to make history with a record five nominations for black creatives; Raoul Peck and Hébert Peck for, I Am Not Your Negro, Ezra Edelman for, O.J.: Made in America, Roger Ross Williams for Life, Animated and my predicted winner Ava DuVernay for arguably the most important documentary made last year, 13th.
Other notable mentions – Best Film Editing – Joi McMillon – Moonlight – The first Black woman ever nominated in this category | Best Cinematography – Bradford Young – Arrival – The first African American nominated in this category.
When Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs – the only African-American on the 51-member board – diversified the Academy last year it was to avoid another whitewash of nominations that had caused controversy in the entertainment world for the past two years and spawned the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
It is reported that just %15 percent of new member invitations were submitted to people of colour and 30% went to women. Today the Academy announced the most diverse list of nominations for a decade, it will be interesting to see if those new additions have any influence over the final vote.
So just to recap –
- Fences: Best Picture | Best Actor (Denzel Washington)| Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis) | Best Adapted Screenplay
- Lion: Best Picture | Best Cinematography | Dev Patel – (Saroo) | Best Adapted Screenplay
- Hidden Figures: Best Picture | Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Butler (Dorothy Vaughan) | Best Adapted Screenplay
- Moonlight: Best Picture | Best Cinematography | Best Supporting Actor – Mahershala Ali – (Juan) | Best Supporting Actress – Naomie Harris (Paula) | Best Score | Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Director
- Loving: Best Actress – Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving)
- Best Documentary Feature: I Am Not Your Negro | OJ: Made in America | 13th
The Academy Awards air February 26th, you can watch via Sky Movies special Oscar Channel in the UK .