By Deandra Du
Editor in Chief
The lineup of acting nominees for this year’s Academy Awards is the most diverse in a decade, producing seven actors of color, six black and one Indian, for the nominations. The historic list ties with 2007’s record for inclusion, according to Mic Network.
The nominees include Ruth Negga in “Loving,” Dev Patel in “Lion,” Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures,” Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris in “Moonlight,” and Viola Davis and Denzel Washington in “Fences.”
Davis is the first African American actress to receive three ever Oscar nominations and Patel the first Indian actor to be nominated in 13 years. Washington broke his own record of seven for most Oscar nods towards a black male.
“All the people of colour who were nominated this year deserved the nominations that they got,” Aisha Harris, culture editor at Slate, told Al Jazeera.
Barry Jenkins, director of “Moonlight,” became the fourth African American to be nominated for Best Director. Both he and “Fences” screenwriter August Wilson were nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, the first time two black individuals have received writing nominations in the same year.
2017 also marks the first year in which black actors are represented in every acting category, according to Time Magazine. Nonwhite casts lead four of the Best Picture nominations and four black nominees are entered in the Documentary Feature.
The historic diversity comes two years after the emergence of the popular hashtag #OscarSoWhite, which criticized the Academy for the lack of ethnic representation in its nominees.
“Things are changing because our voices are stronger together,” tweeted April Reign, creator of the hashtag. “One year of films reflecting the Black experience doesn’t make up for 80 [years] of underrepresentation.”
In response, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences vowed to double its number of female and minority members by 2020. In January Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the only African American on the largely white, male voting body revised the board’s rules to promote more heterogeneity.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” stated Isaacs.
Among the changes include a new 10-year membership term, which will only be renewed if the member has been active in motion pictures in that decade.
The Oscars will be broadcasted next Sunday on ABC.