#OscarsLessWhite: Seven persons of color nominated in major acting categories, up from zero in 2016

Nominees include Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Ruth Negga, Denzel Washington, and Mahershala Ali

    When Oscar nominations were announced last year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences faced a great deal of backlash for the lack of diversity in its picks. Not a single person of color was recognized in the ceremony’s top four acting categories, despite the acclaim of movies like Creed, Tangerine, Beasts of No Nation, Sicario, Dope, or Straight Outta Compton. In response, the Academy took steps towards diversifying its membership, resulting in the addition of 683 new members, a pool that was 46% female and 41% people of color.

    The change seems to have had some effect, as today’s nominations include seven persons of color recognized in the major acting categories. Fences’ Denzel Washington and Loving’s Ruth Negga are nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, while Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris, Lion’s Dev Patel, Fences’ Viola Davis, and Hidden Figures’ Octavia Spencer anchor the supporting acting categories.

    Additionally, Barry Jenkins received a Best Director nod for Moonlight.

    Many congratulations to those nominated.