The 89th Annual Academy Awards take place this Sunday (February 26) and though many fans are simply anxious to see if some of their favorite movies will take home the gold, the night truly marks a moment that minorities are finally getting the recognition they deserve for their hard work and effortless talent seen both in front and behind the camera.
Last year, the Academy Awards came under scrutiny after many took notice of the lack of diversity. During its airing, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag garnered thousands of tweets as many complained about white actors and actresses being the only ones nominated for the top four categories--for the second year in a row. Chris Rock did a perfect job of addressing this issue, and racial tensions in Hollywood, during the show as the camera panned to the many uncomfortable faces in the crowd.
But things may now have taken a turn for the better.
This year, every acting category has recognized a person of color with a record-tying of seven minority actors recognized, including a record of six black actors. Barry Jenkins, the writer and director behind Moonlight, is the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. Another fan favorite Ava DuVernay is the first African-American female director to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature (13th). A black actor is nominated in all four acting categories for the first time in history including Denzel Washington for Best Actor and Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress (Fences).
This year, the Academy Awards have made undeniable progress in recognizing the talent of minority filmmakers and actor/actresses. The level of diversity across the categories shows us that minorities are just as capable of having their talent reach the bar of recognition. This year, #OscarsSoBlack will be trending, not because of its popularity, but its truth to realizing talent from all walks of life. Will you be watching?