Could it be true that #OscarsSoWhite has ended? Yesterday morning, the nominees were announced and for the first time in two years there is no longer a whiteout in the major categories. In 2015 and 2016, all 20 actors nominated in the lead and supporting acting categories were white, inspiring the creation of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
Perhaps the hashtag and the subsequent conversation was fruitful, with a more diverse cast of nominees this year. Three of the best supporting actress nominees – Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) are black. And two of the best supporting actor nominees Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Dev Patel (Lion) are of color.
Lead categories are not so colorful, but better than recent years. Denzel Washington received a nod for best lead actor in Fences, and Ruth Negga was nominated for best actress for Loving.
The best picture race, boasts quite a bit of diversity as well with with four of the nine films nominated representing “colorful” tales. Hidden Figures, and August Wilson’s Fences both earned a best picture nods, as did the Indian adoption story Lion and Moonlight, a poor gay black child.
There is still a stark absence of Asian and Hispanic nominees, no doubt at least somewhat indicative of the number of roles available to actors of color overall.