The Oscars made history on Monday morning as the Academy nominated a record nine nonwhite actors in the acting categories. In addition, for the first time ever two female directors were nominated in the same year, including China-born Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland.”
The acting nominees of color this year include performers in all four categories. They are Yuh-Jung Youn for “Minari,” Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Leslie Odom, Jr. for “One Night in Miami,” LaKeith Stanfield for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Riz Ahmed for “Sound of Metal,” Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Steven Yeun for “Minari,” Viola Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Andra Day for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”
In 2017, the Academy tied its previous record from a decade before with seven nonwhite acting nominees: Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), Viola Davis, (“Fences”) Denzel Washington (“Fences”), Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) Ruth Negga (“Loving”) and Dev Patel (“Lion”)
That breakthrough came a full decade after the Academy nominated Will Smith (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”), Djimon Housou (“Blood Diamond”), Eddie Murphy (“Dreamgirls”), Adriana Barraza (“Babel”), Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”) and Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”).
This year’s record followed a renewed focus on diversity in Hollywood and in the Academy when no nonwhite actors received nominations for two consecutive years, in 2015 and 2016.
Also of note, seven of the nine performers are first-time nominees: Riz Ahmed, Chadwick Boseman, Andra Day, Leslie Odom, Jr., Lakeith Stanfield, Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn. Additionally, Leslie Odom, Jr. is the fifth person (and first man) to receive acting and song nominations for the same film. Chadwick Boseman, who died on August 28, 2020, is the seventh performer to receive a posthumous nomination.
The movies’ biggest night has been delayed until April 25, 2021, the latest the Academy Awards has been held since 1932, making an already long awards season feel even more drawn out.
Read the complete list of this year’s nominations here.