Ever since the inception of Oscars in 1929, diversification was a will-o’-the-wisp. Oscars 2017 begs to differ.
No person in the world is probably as happy as Mahershala Ali is, over the course of last couple of days. From becoming a father to a baby girl four days ago, to winning an Oscar – Mahershala is the first Muslim to ever do so. The same holds true for Fences‘ Viola Davis too. By winning the Best Supporting Actress Academy award, Viola becomes the first black woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for acting. Besides, these are just the winners. There was a good number of diverse nominations in the Oscars 2017 too.
Oscars 2017: Night Of Firsts
Oscars is less white this year, reports Huffington Post. Actors of color found themselves in the nominations for the major awards. Mahershala Ali and Viola Davis were the frontrunners and past winner Denzel Washington was in contention too. As soon as Mahershala won the Best Supporting actor, The Academy had made a statement larger than Hollywood – unity and diversity. Giving an award to a Muslim actor that was seemingly too dear for decades saw an anomaly.
Mahershala, thus, inspires and opens the door for generations to come. ‘#OscarsSoWhite’ saw a response early on during the ceremony with Viola Davis’ win. It was as though The Academy was hastily making amends, of course. Keeping The Academy’s sense of urgency aside, the diversification didn’t end with the aforementioned actors’ wins. ‘O.J.: Made in America‘ won the best documantary feature, there by beating the likes of ‘Fire at Sea‘ and ‘I Am Not Your Negro‘.
Not to mention, it was in 2009 that three black actors won the Oscars. Regardless, Oscars 2017 takes the credit for the year to beat the discrimination. Moonlight getting the nod as the Best Picture is a testament to the change in the voting panel’s perspectives.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 27, 2017
Diversification And Oscars
Coming to the nominations that didn’t quite manage to win, there are the likes of Dev Patel, Octavia Spencer and Ruth Negga. Furthermore, Dev Patel is one of the few actors of the Asian descent to get a nomination. In that vein, he falls into the one percent category of the total nominations in the history of Oscars.
In the light of recent change in the political spectrum, Oscars gave a ray of hope. Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue was largely political and most of the attendees were in agreement with his witty Donald-Trump-dissing. In the times when demagoguery and xenophobia is rife, Oscars made a chiding statement – a precursor to the better times ahead.