Academy Award nominations reverse #OscarsSoWhite streak

Benjamin VanHoose

Based on this year’s crop of Oscar nominees, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may have resolved its diversity problem.

After two consecutive years of no minority representation in acting categories — and one trending hashtag straight out of a PR nightmare (#OscarsSoWhite) — seven of the 20 acting slots are held by non-white actors.

On the male side, Denzel Washington was nominated for best actor for “Fences,” which he also directed. Dev Patel and frontrunner Mahershala Ali were included in the supporting actor category for their roles in “Lion” and “Moonlight,” respectively.

Ruth Negga, for best actress, scored the only recognition for the film “Loving” which follows the true story of an interracial couple defending their marriage in the Supreme Court.

The most diversity is found in the supporting actress category, in which three black actresses earned positions. Viola Davis, most projected to win gold here for her work in “Fences,” is joined by Naomie Harris for “Moonlight” and Octavia Spencer for “Hidden Figures.”

Recent box office hit “Hidden Figures” — which tells the true story of the African-American women at NASA who played a significant part in launching Ohioan John Glenn into orbit — received three nominations, including best picture.

Aside from a notable return to diversity, the complete list of nominees (see below) had a few surprises.

Meryl Streep managed to score a spot in the best actress category for “Florence Foster Jenkins,” marking her record-setting 20th Oscar nomination. Streep edged out strong competitors like Taraji P. Henson (“Hidden Figures”), Amy Adams (“Arrival”) and Emily Blunt (“The Girl on the Train”) in a crowded year for stand-out lead actress roles.

Modern musical “La La Land” led the pack with a total of 14 nominations, including best picture, actor, actress and director. “La La Land” matched the record for most nominations for a single film with “All About Eve” (1950) and “Titanic” (1997).

Several critically-panned flicks can now be referred to as “Academy Award-nominated,” despite negative reviews.

Superhero action movie “Suicide Squad” earned one nod for achievements in the makeup and hair departments, and the Jennifer Lawrence / Chris Pratt space film “Passengers” ended up on the list twice. The films hold Rotten Tomatoes scores of 26 percent and 31 percent, respectively.

Five of the movies included in the free Real Late Reels series in the KIVA received nominations, including “Deepwater Horizon,” “Moana” and “Doctor Strange.”

The ceremony for the 89th Academy Awards will air Sunday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. on ABC.

For more on the Oscars and diversity in the entertainment industry, pick up this week’s Features Edition of the Kent Stater, out Thursday.

Benjamin VanHoose is the features editor for the Kent Stater, contact him at [email protected].

Complete list of 2017 Oscar nominations:

Best picture:



“Hacksaw Ridge”

“Hell or High Water”

“Hidden Figures”

“La La Land”


“Manchester by the Sea”


Lead actor:

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

Ryan Gosling, “La La Land,”

Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”

Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Lead actress

Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Emma Stone, “La La Land”

Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Supporting actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

Dev Patel, “Lion”

Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Supporting actress:

Viola Davis, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Nicole Kidman, “Lion”

Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”

Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best director:

“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Mel Gibson

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins

“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan

“Arrival,” Denis Villeneuve

Animated feature:

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner

“Moana,” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

“My Life as a Zucchini,” Claude Barras and Max Karli

“The Red Turtle,” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

“Zootopia,” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Animated short:

“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev

“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller

“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne

“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Adapted screenplay:

“Arrival,” Eric Heisserer

“Fences,” August Wilson

“Hidden Figures,” Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi

“Lion,” Luke Davies

“Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

Original screenplay:

“20th Century Women,” Mike Mills

“Hell or High Water,” Taylor Sheridan

“La La Land,” Damien Chazelle

“The Lobster,” Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

“Manchester by the Sea,” Kenneth Lonergan


“Arrival,” Bradford Young

“La La Land,” Linus Sandgren

“Lion,” Greig Fraser

“Moonlight,” James Laxton

“Silence,” Rodrigo Prieto

Best documentary feature:

“13th,” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish

“Fire at Sea,” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

“I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck, Remi Grellety and Hebert Peck

“Life, Animated,” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

“O.J.: Made in America,” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best documentary short subject:

“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki

“Extremis,” Dan Krauss

“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen

“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis

“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best live action short film:

“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi

“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff

“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson

“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy

“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez

Best foreign language film:

“A Man Called Ove,” Sweden

“Land of Mine,” Denmark

“Tanna,” Australia

“The Salesman,” Iran

“Toni Erdmann,” Germany

Film editing

“Arrival,” Joe Walker

“Hacksaw Ridge,” John Gilbert

“Hell or High Water,” Jake Roberts

“La La Land,” Tom Cross

“Moonlight,” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

Sound editing:

“Arrival,” Sylvain Bellemare

“Deep Water Horizon,” Wylie Stateman and Renee Tondelli

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

“La La Land,” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan

“Sully,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman

Sound mixing:

“Arrival,” Bernard Gariepy Strobl and Claude La Haye

“Hacksaw Ridge,” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

“La La Land,” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Production design:

“Arrival,” Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Stuart Craig, Anna Pinnock

“Hail, Caesar!,” Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh

“La La Land,” David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco

“Passengers,” Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena

Original score:

“Jackie,” Mica Levi

“La La Land,” Justin Hurwitz

“Lion,” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

“Moonlight,” Nicholas Britell

“Passengers,” Thomas Newman

Original song:

“Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Trolls” — Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

“City of Stars,” “La La Land” — Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

“The Empty Chair,” “Jim: The James Foley Story” — Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

“How Far I’ll Go,” “Moana” — Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Makeup and hair:

“A Man Called Ove,” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson

“Star Trek Beyond,” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

“Suicide Squad,” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Costume design:

“Allied,” Joanna Johnston

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Colleen Atwood

“Florence Foster Jenkins,” Consolata Boyle

“Jackie,” Madeline Fontaine

“La La Land,” Mary Zophres

Visual effects:

“Deepwater Horizon,” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton

“Doctor Strange,” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould

“The Jungle Book,” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corboul