January 25, 2017

2017 Oscar Nominations Show Black Artists' Gains

New York City, January 24, 2017 — Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs was joined by Academy members Demian Bichir, Dustin Lance Black, Glenn Close, Guillermo del Toro, Marcia Gay Harden, Terrence Howard, Jennifer Hudson, Brie Larson, Jason Reitman, Gabourey Sidibe and Ken Watanabe for the 89th Academy Awards nominations this morning.

La La Land led the nominations with 14, which ties the record of most nominations ever with 1997’s Titanic and 1950’s All About Eve. Arrival and Moonlight followed with eight nominations each, and Hacksaw Ridge, Lion, and Manchester by the Sea received six nominations each.

After last year’s Oscar nominations, in which no Black actors were nominated for the second consecuitve year, changes were made within the voting system that allowed for new members. Those changes have resulted in the six Black actors/actresses receiving nods today, an historic occasion.

With Fences’ Denzel Washington and Loving’s Ruth Negga nominated in the Best Actor/ Actress category, and Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) getting nods in for Best Supporting Actor/ Actress, it marks the first time Black actors have been nominated in all four acting categories.

Fences, Hidden Figures, and Moonlight are all nominated for Best Pictures, marking the first time that three black films have ever been nominated in this category.

Also record-setting was the amount of Blacks receiving nominations (18), surpassing the seven given in 2009.

That includes Kimberly Steward, Pharrell Williams, Denzel Washington, Barry Jenkins, Ruth Negga, Mahershala Ali, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, Tarell A. McCraney, August Wilson, Joi McMillon, Bradford Young, Ava DuVernay, Ezra Edelman, Raoul Peck, Herbert Peck, and Roger Ross Williams.

Viola Davis is the most nominated African-American actress, with 3 nominations (Best Supporting Actress nom for Doubt, Best Actress nom for The Help).

Viola Davis (Fences), Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) – First time three African-American actresses received Best Supporting Actress nominations in same year.

Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer – Second time both actresses have been nominated in same year but first time in same category for different films.

Joi McMillon – Second black person to be nominated for Best Editing and the First Black Female to be nominated

Ezra Edelman, Ava DuVernay, Raoul Peck, Roger Ross Williams – First time four Blacks received Best Documentary Feature nominations in same year.

Bradford Young of Arrival  is the second Black person ever to be nominated for Best Cinematography.

Set to be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 89th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

By Wilson Morales

Special to ColeSmithey.com

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