Hollywood solves racism with newest batch of Oscar nominations

By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Staff Writer

Not really.

A year after the infamous hashtag “Oscars So White,” coined by April Reign, made itself known in the wake of a repeated all-white field of nominated actors, the Academy seems to have heeded the calls for change.

A strenuous redefinition of the Academy’s membership to allow for the inclusion of more women, people of color, and a younger demographic, along with a breadth of diverse films being released that were made even more prominent juxtaposed with the political environment, the 2017 nominees find us in a much more colorful and interesting playing field.

Not every category is perfect – my heart yearns for the nomination Amy Adams deserved (and should have won) for “Arrival.” Be that as it may, it is always fun to see people slip in where you least expect (Mica Levi, Yorgos Lanthimos). The beauty of art is in its subjectivity.

History was made numerous times throughout the announcement of nominees on Jan. 14. It was an interesting night for everyone involved.

A few major highlights to key in on:

  • Bradford Young becomes the first black man to be nominated for Best Cinematography for his ethereal work in “Arrival.”
  • Dev Patel’s Supporting Actor nomination for “Lion” makes him the third Indian actor to be nominated.
  • Amazon marks the first streaming service to have a film nominated (“Manchester By The Sea”)
  • First black man to be nominated for the trifecta: Best Picture, Director, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay) – Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
  • “La La Land” ties the record of most nominations (14) with “All About Eve” and “Titanic”
  • First black woman to be nominated for Best Editing (Joi McMillon, “Moonlight”)
  • First time that all four acting categories feature black nominees
  • Nominated in the supporting category for “Hidden Figures”, Octavia Spencer becomes the first black woman to be nominated again after winning previously (Supporting Actress, “The Help”)
  • Meryl Streep broke her own record by being nominated for the 20th time as the titular “Florence Foster Jenkins”
  • August Wilson, who died 12 years ago, was nominated for Adapted Screenplay (“Fences”)
  • Mica Levi’s wildly original score for “Jackie” was nominated, a category that only three women have won before
  • And, “Deadpool” was nominated for nothing

As you can see, there is wealth of things to be happy about (especially “Deadpool” being nominated for nothing). But it is important to remember this is the first step— and a rather good one, at that — of a long marathon ahead of them.

The work doesn’t just lay with Hollywood, though. It is up to us, as consumers, to demand art that portrays the world as it really is. Art is a social construct that both affects and is affected by what surrounds it. In a world of growing diversity in all matters, it will be nice when that is reflected on the silver screen.

You can check the Oscars website for a full list of nominees.

The 89th Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 26 from the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center. It will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

Photo Courtesy of heavy.com

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