Oscars try to shake things up


In 2016, a trending hashtag was #OscarsSoWhite.

Well, you might have noticed you haven’t seen it any more. This is not because the hashtag just went out of style. This is because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’s voting board made some major changes. Along with the voting board being shaken up, this year’s nominees are showing a lot more diversity.

In 2015, all the acting nominees were white. “Selma” a drama about civil rights received nothing for its cast or for its director, Ava Du Vernay. Activist April Reign responded by tweeting “#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.” This tweet catapulted a hashtag movement bringing a light to Hollywood’s diversity problems that the Academy could not turn a blind eye to.

For best actor Denzel Washington accepted his seventh for “Fences.” This nomination extends his record as the most-nominated black actor.

Oscar nominees Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone and Viola Davis at the Oscar nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills on Feb. 6, 2017 (Photo by Aaron Poole, courtesy of AMPAS).

His co-star Viola Davis was nominated for best supporting actress. With three nominations, she is now the most-nominated black actress.

Other black actresses getting their acknowledgements are Octavia Spencer for “Hidden Figures” and Naomie Harris for “Moonlight.” Mahershala Ali landed a nomination for supporting actor as well for “Moonlight.”

Also recognized in supporting actor was Dev Patel, a British actor of Indian descent, for “Lion.”

In the lead actress category, Ruth Negga was nominated for her work in “Loving.”

Acting wasn’t the only category where colored people got acknowledged. “Manchester by the Sea” was nominated for best picture. Kimberly Steward is only the second black female to be nominated for producing. The first was Oprah Winfrey for “Selma.”

The Oscars will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center. It will be aired live on ABC.