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On January 24th, the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced and it seemed to go unspoken by the media the fact that it made history. For the first time since 1926, when the first ever Academy Awards ceremony took place, there is at least one African-American nominee in every main acting category.
Mahershala Ali was nominated for Moonlight running for Best Supporting Actor, Denzel Washington for Fences as Best Actor, Moonlight racing for Best Picture and Best Director, newcomer Ruth Negga for Best Actress selected for Loving and Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress for Fences.
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It should also not go unnoticed other three very important facts. The first is that there are three African-American actresses nominated in the same category. Viola Davis for Fences, Naomie Harris for Moonlight and Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures are all nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The other being that by getting nominated for her performance in Fences, Viola Davis became the first African-American woman to be nominated three times in the history of the Academy Awards. Viola was previously nominated for her performances in Doubt (2008) as Best Supporting Actress, The Help (2010) as Best Actress. The last one, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins also made history by becoming the first African-American to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and one of the screenplay awards. If Jenkins wins Best Director he will be the first black man to ever win in that category.
That was a clear answer to last year´s Academy Award #OscarsSoWhite boycott. After noticing that not a single African-American was nominated for the main categories, protest arose all across the internet in almost all social media platforms. A week after the fastidious hashtag took over the internet, the Academy announced several rules changes regarding membership in hopes of increasing the number of women and minorities in the membership by 2020.
It is clear to the Academy that people will no longer stand lack of diversity in the movie industry. A constant increasing support for POC films is happening. An example is Hidden Figures officially surpassing La La Land as this year´s the highest-grossing Oscar nominee, adding up a total of $119.4 million since it premiered.
The 89th Academy Awards will happen on February 26th at 5:30 PM GMT-8. It will be televised through ABC and live streamed on ABC´s website.