After last year’s #OscarsSoWhite, the academy has finally taken a step in the right direction. The 2017 Oscar Nominees were released last week and people of color have been nominated in major categories. For the first time in Oscar history, three women of color have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress.
“Fences” is a film adaptation of the play written by August Wilson, a famous African-American playwright. It’s the story of Troy Paxton, played by Denzel Washington, who has been nominated for Best Actor in a featured film. Viola Davis plays Troy’s wife, Rose, in the film and received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Both Washington and Davis have won a 2017 Screen Actors Guild award for their respective nominations.
Octavia Spencer is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan in “Hidden Figures.” It tells the story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), three African-American women who were behind a NASA launch that had significant impact. Their story pushes the boundaries of both gender and race; and shows women in STEM careers. “Hidden Figures” won the 2017 SAG award for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture.
“Moonlight” was adapted from a short play by Tarell Alvin McCraney. The central focus is a young black man, Chiron, on his journey of self-discovery. Naomie Harris is nominated for Best Supporting Actress, as well as Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor (winner of the SAG award). “Moonlight” also features actress and singer Janelle Monáe.
Other nominees include:
- “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins (the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay)
- Bradford Young for his cinematography in “Arrival”
- Ruth Negga for her leading role in “Loving”
- Dev Patel actor for his supporting role in “Lion”