This year’s nominations for the 89th Academy Awards show that social media campaigns and boycotts do work.
After two years of a lack of diversity with the Academy’s nominations, this year the Oscars are not so white. The recognition of black actors highlights the Academy’s progress. For the first time in the Academy Awards’ history there is a black actor nominated in every acting category.
This year Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor for his role in Fences.
Washington’s co-star, Viola Davis, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Fences.
Ruth Negga was nominated for Best Actress for Loving.
Our homegrown talent Naomie Harris was also nominated in the same category for her role in Moonlight.
Octavia Spencer, who already has an Oscar under her belt for The Help, is another nominee in the Best Supporting Actress for her role in Hidden Figures.
Mahershala Ali was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in Moonlight.
The British Asian actor Dev Patel was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor for Lion.
The record number of six black actors being nominated this year is a huge leap forward for the Academy Awards. For the last two years the Academy had failed to nominate any black actors. This led to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign in which people took to social media to vent their outrage and disappointment over the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations. The #OscarsSoWhite campaign was also endorsed by celebrities, such as Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, who led a boycott of the 2016 ceremony.
The #OscarsSoWhite campaign captured the media’s attention and resulted in an outpour of criticism from industry professionals, celebrities (including the 2016 Oscar host Chris Rock) and the public.
This placed the issue of the lack of diversity of the Oscars and other established awards ceremony centre stage, applying pressure on organisers.
The diversity of this years nominations shows that social media campaigns, like #OscarsSoWhite, do work. The 89th Academy Award show, due to be held on the 26th of February, will be the most diverse one yet. It also hopefully marks an end to the drought of diversity that has plagued the Oscars since it was established.