By: Taylor Brooks
The Oscar nominees are in for the 89th Academy Awards, and they are record breaking for African Americans! The past two years of Oscar nominations brought a world wind of controversy with there being no African American nominees.
This year African Americans are making history like never before. For the first time in Oscars history, black actors and actresses are nominated in every acting category.
There is Denzel Washington and Viola Davis for “Fences,” Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris for “Moonlight,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” and Octavia Spencer for “Hidden Figures.”
Viola Davis made history being the first black woman ever nominated for three Oscars. “Moonlight” writer and director Barry Jenkins made Oscar history being the first African American nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The movie’s editor, Joi McMillon, made history as the first black woman nominated for film editing.
Beyond history being made among black people in Hollywood, “Hidden Figures” is nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay as is “Fences.” “Moonlight” is nominated for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Editing.
Ava Duvernay’s documentary “13th” is nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Dev Patel, nominated for “Lion,” is only the third Indian actor ever to be an Oscar nominee. Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Puerto Rican decent, is nominated for his first ever Oscar for Best Original Song for the animated film, “Moana.”
With Oscar nominations always come the snubs. Everyone can’t be nominated and everyone can’t win.
Among those who were snubbed include Ryan Reynolds who put years into “Deadpool” to come out with no Oscar nom, Nate Parker’s past rape allegations overruled his movie “Birth of a Nation” resulting in no Oscar nomination although Casey Affleck, who is nominated, was sued for sexual harassment back in 2010.
After years of fighting for a “Finding Nemo” sequel, Ellen DeGeneres was finally able to give us “Finding Dory” 13 years later and the movie missed a nomination for Best Animated Feature even though “Finding Nemo” won in 2004. And finally, the star of the box office hit “Hidden Figures,” Taraji P. Henson, was snubbed for a Best Actress Nomination.
This year will be the most diverse group of nominees ever, but this is just a step forward. More work still needs to be done. Rather than focusing so much attention on who should be nominated, we should be admiring the best movies as a whole.
In the past, questions have been raised whether there’s a shortage of black actors in award-worthy movies. Students on campus believe this isn’t the case.
“Facts are facts,” says senior Danielle Greene. “There were no black people nominated last year; it’s not that the movies aren’t Oscar worthy it’s just the Oscar committee is biased. If there’s a black actress on screen she’s most often going to be playing a stereotypical role; she’s the wife, the maid, the nanny and we want to see something different from black actors.”
Maybe this year will be the start of something different. With variety of diverse actors and filmmakers making a splash this year, maybe we’ll see more of the actors breaking the glass ceiling of casting as well. Either way, this year’s Oscar nominations are one for the record books.
The 89th Academy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. on ABC.