Academy Shines Spotlight on Diversity Year Following #OscarSoWhite Controversy

Not only were diverse actors recognized, but so were diverse stories.

What a difference a year makes.

Just a year after the #OscarSoWhite controversy that enveloped the Academy Awards, 2017 saw a slate of not only diverse actors being nominated, but diverse stories as well.

[NATL] 89th Academy Awards: And the Nominees Are...

Among the actors and actresses receiving nominations Tuesday were Denzel Washington for "Fences," Dev Patel for "Lion," Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight," Viola Davis for "Fences," Octavia Spencer for "Hidden Figures," Naomi Harris for "Moonlight," and Ruth Negga for "Loving." Three of the women in the best supporting actress category are women of color.

Yet perhaps even more telling is the "Adapted Screenplay" category. Four of the five nominees, “Fences,” “Hidden Figures, ” “Lion, ” and “Moonlight” primarily feature diverse casts.

Actors Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe star in the Golden Globe-nominated film “Hidden Figures,” alongside Jim Parsons, Kevin Costner and producer Pharrell Williams. They discuss female black empowerment from the point of view of Katherine Johnson – a black physicist and mathematician whose work contributed to the first manned space orbit around Earth. The film hits theaters...

The nominations were seen as a test for the revamped film academy. Following two consecutive years without diverse nominees in any of the major acting categories the Oscars, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs ushered in new membership rules and added 683 new members as a way to diversify a predominantly white, male and elderly group. The academy now numbers 6,687 people.

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