As the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were revealed on Tuesday morning, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer made Oscars history with their Best Supporting Actress nominations.

 

Nominated for their work in Fences, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures, respectively, Davis, Harris, and Spencer mark a historical moment in the history of the Academy Awards as this is the first time three black women have been distinct nominees in any category, and the first time three black people have been distinct nominees in any category.

While a lot more work needs to be done yet for more diversity in Hollywood, it is refreshing to see three talented actresses nominated in one of the major categories at the Academy Awards, especially considering last year’s #OscarssoWhite debate.

Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson.

Other black actors nominated are Mahershala Ali for his supporting work in “Moonlight,” a poetic drama about a young black man in Miami, Ruth Negga for her performance in “Loving” and Denzel Washington for his lead role in “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s classic play about black life in 1950s Pittsburgh.

Another minority actor, Dev Patel, was nominated for his supporting role in “Lion,” while four of the five honored documentaries came from black filmmakers, including “13th” by Ava DuVernay and “I Am Not Your Negro,” directed by Raoul Peck.

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