The 2017 Oscars: Record-Breaking Nominations

The 2016 Oscars sparked controversy as, for the second year in a row, all 20 actors nominated in the lead and supporting actor categories were white. Celebrities including Will Smith, Lupita Nyong’o, Spike Lee and Viola Davis boycotted or spoke out against the lack of diverse representation in nominations and throughout Hollywood.

This year, seven of 20 actors nominated for an Academy Award are not white, including Denzel Washington (Best actor, Fences), Ruth Negga (Best actress, Loving) and Octavia Spencer (Best supporting actress, Hidden Figures). Six nominated films focus on stories of African Americans, and Gil Robertson, co-founder and president of the African-American Film Critics Association, claims 2016 will “forever represent a bonanza year for Black cinema.”

Courtesy: Playbill.com

The nominations reflect a demand for more diverse films from minority voices that have become louder with recent movements including #OscarsSoWhite. April Reign, creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, said she was “especially encouraged” by behind-the-scenes nominees, mentioning Joi McMillon, the first black woman to garner an Oscar nomination for editing and Bradford Young, the first black cinematographer to receive a nomination.

For her performance in Fences, Viola Davis became the first black actress to earn three Oscar nominations. Dev Patel became the third Indian actor to ever receive a nomination for his role in Lion and Barry Jenkins became the fourth-ever black director nominee. Each acting category includes a black actor for the first time.

Despite steps towards progress in this year’s nominations, previous critics of Hollywood are wary of the longevity and scale of minority representation. Reign reminded her Twitter followers that while “things are changing because our voices are stronger together…one year of films reflecting the Black experience doesn’t make up for 80 [years] of underrepresentation of ALL groups”. Robertson echoes this critique as he mentions his hope that “these Black films will have a domino effect” towards inclusion of “Asian, Hispanic, Native American, and LGBTQ communities”.

Courtesy: Yahoo

Other notable nominees include La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, landed a record-tying 14 nominations, matching it with Titanic and All About Eve for the most nominations ever. The musical, directed by Damien Chazelle, broke records early in January winning all seven Golden Globe awards it was nominated for.

Along with steps towards inclusion and record-breaking nominees, the nomination lists also included surprising snubs. Missing from the best picture category included favorites Silence, The Birth of a Nation, Sully, Loving and The Jungle Book, among others. Though Arrival received a best picture nomination, lead actress Amy Adams was excluded from the best actress category along with Taraji P. Henson of Hidden Figures.

Before viewing the ceremony, check out some of this year’s best picture nominees.

  • La La Land
  • Arrival
  • Lion
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • Moonlight
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Fences

The Oscars ceremony, which will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, airs at 8:30 p.m. Feb. 26 on ABC.