Black artists receive well-deserved recognition with 2017 Oscar nominations
It’s a celebratory morning for all who watched the Academy Awards with bated breath for the past year to see how it would address its #OscarsSoWhite problem. The 2017 Oscar nominations rolled in early Tuesday morning to much excitement. This year the Academy decided to switch things up a bit by recognizing last year’s best black films, performances, filmmakers and directors. Certainly the acknowledgment for the often overlooked brilliance in black Hollywood was long overdue. And now we wait to see if nominations translate to actual wins.
Viola Davis is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her work in Fences. With this nomination she made history as the first black actress to earn three Oscar nominations. Her previous nominations include Doubt (2009) and The Help (2012). If we had to endure her playing a white woman’s maid in the segregated south for her to finally have the moment she’s having now then it was worth the journey.
Speaking of The Help stars, Oscar winning Octavia Spencer is also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her stellar performance in Hidden Figures. Naomi Harris joins the Best Supporting Actress crew for starring in Moonlight. The trio’s nominations made history as the first time three black actresses were nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category in the same year.
Moonlight racked up eight nominations in the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score categories. As the year’s best film, the best picture, best director and best cinematography wins should be a no-brainer.
The Academy has known to disappoint, often, but there’s truly no way they can get this wrong. Right? One can only hope.
Other notable nominations include Denzel Washington for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in Fences, Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor for his stunning performance in Moonlight, Ruth Negga for Best Actress in Loving and Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th for Documentary Feature.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs made sure the Academy Awards came with it this year. An ancient proverb, at least it should be, is that if you want to get anything done — the right way — put a black woman in charge. That’s what happened here.
It’s an amazing feeling to see black artists and creators, most of whom have been working in Hollywood for 10-20 years with little to no recognition, get their just due. Black people been creating, been putting in work, been brilliant, been dope. Our time to collect what is owed us is now.
Congrats to all the black nominees and nominees of color! For the full list of the 89th Academy Awards nominations the LA Times made it easy.