Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Naomie Harris Make Oscar History
Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images

Tuesday saw the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards, and unlike years past which boasted its usual uniform roster of white actors, Black actors were nominated in every acting category in 2017.

Not only do we see Black actors as notable mentions in the following categories — Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress — Black women alone are making their mark in Oscar history this year. For Viola Davis, who received a nod for her performance in Fences, this marks the third Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The first two were for 2012’s The Help and the John Patrick Shanley drama Doubt.

Both Naomie Harris and Octavia Spencer made history as well for their performances in the critically-acclaimed Moonlight and Hidden Figures, joining Davis on the list for Best Supporting Actress. That means that for the first time, ever, Black women are dominating an acting category.

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The last time multiple Black women were recognized in that category was in 1985 when both Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery were nominated for The Color Purple.

In addition to the firsts in Black Hollywood, Ava DuVernay also scooped an Oscar nomination for her riveting documentary, 13th, and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight received eight nominations across the board. 

The 2017 awards ceremony will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, taking over for Chris Rock, who hosted the ceremony last year amid the #OscarsSoWhite backlash. And, it seems Hollywood has finally taken steps in correcting its lack of diversity as the nominees for many of the major categories include actors of color. 


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