It’s 2017 and, at last, black people are good at acting and directing!

The Oscars have more nominees of color than ever – but there’s still some way to go

Unlike in years past, the Academy Award nominations, released today, are awash with black and minority actors and directors.

Mahershala Ali, Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington, Naomie Harris, Ruth Negga, Barry Jenkins, Dev Patel. These names are among a long list of Oscar-nominated actors and directors- they’re also a list of names belonging to actors and directors of color.

2016’s Oscar shortlist infamously boasted not one person of color, and the year before the number wasn’t much bigger – but not for a lack of options. Creed, one of the best movies to come out last year, was directed by and starred a black man, and many were shocked to see neither receive a nomination. This is due to a long-standing lack of diversity in the nominations of award shows, and people let their displeasure about it be known.

Mahershala Ali, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Moonlight

This year, the number of minority actors and directors nominated, though still low, was definitely record breaking. With films like Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures and Lion, it would have been a shock not to see an increase of people of color on the nominations list. A question lingers, though, that this could be a knee-jerk reaction to last year’s #OscarsSoWhite uproar. 2017 didn’t just magically become the year black actors and directors suddenly became good at, say, acting and directing. So why, the year after they absolutely botched the nominations, are we seeing more inclusion than ever before?

We obviously have a long way to go in terms of inclusion in award shows like the Oscars, but without a doubt this is a step in the right direction as far as diversifying not just the casts of movies, but those who get nominations, goes. But we shouldn’t praise the Oscar gods just yet – the numbers are still abysmal, at best, and whether or not the very few nominees actually receive an award is a different story altogether.

Florida State University