Before sunrise today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the Oscar nominations for 2017—and there were a surprising (history making!) number of Black names and Black-themed projects announced. It’s not surprising considering the strong performances we watched onscreen in 2016, but since the Academy tends to be pretty stingy with recognizing the contributions of people of color, today was a pleasant shock.
Here, the nominees of color.
Mahershala Ali, star of Hidden Figures and whose newest film Roxanne Roxanne debuted at Sundance this past weekend, was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Moonlight.
It was that film, the coming-of-age story of a gay, Black man in Miami, that made history with today’s nominations. The film received eight nods, for Best Director (Barry Jenkins), Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, Original Score and Best Picture.
It will also be a historical night during the Oscars when three different categories have three (of five) nominees with Black people or Black-themed subject matter. Those include Best Supporting Actress. Alongside Harris for Moonlight, nominations were also given to Viola Davis (Fences) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures). For Adapted Screenplay, there are nominations for Fences, Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Finally, the Original Documentary category includes 13th, I Am Not Your Negro and OJ: Made in America.
Rounding out the impressive number of well-deserved nominations for Black men and women, Denzel Washington is up for Best Actor for Fences, Ruth Negga (Best Actress, Loving), and a Best Picture nod for Hidden FIgures.
The Academy Awards airs on Sunday, February 26 at 7:00ET on ABC.
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