It’s 2021 and it finally looks like the Oscars are now embracing the diversity of Hollywood. The 2021 Oscar Nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards show are considerably diverse, giving an indication that the Academy is finally celebrating diverse voices.
Oscar nominations 2021 finally embrace diversity
Whenever Oscar nominations drop, people usually expect them to be the same bunch of white actors year after year. But, this is a post-COVID and post-Black Lives Matter world and just like the rest, the Oscars aren’t the same. To get a glimpse of how many firsts the Oscars are achieving this year, this is how the nominations look like in terms of diversity:
- Only four of the 20 nominees of all the four acting categories are white Americans.
- Nomadland director Chloe Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker, is the first woman of color to be nominated for best director.
- Steven Yeun is the first Asian-American actor to be nominated in the best lead actor category for her performance in the movie Minari.
- For the first time in the Academy’s history, two women have been nominated for best director in the same year (Zhao and Emerald Fennell, director of Promising Young Woman).
- Fennell is the first woman to be nominated for best director for her feature film debut
- Zhao is also the first woman to receive four separate individual nominations in the same year.
- Seventy women received 76 nominations in total. This is the most ever for women in one year.
- Three of the five actors nominated in the supporting category are Black.
- Eleven of the 20 acting nominees are first-time nominees.
But, the one question that rises from these firsts is that how did have the 93rd Academy Awards become so much more diverse than before? And why are there so many newbies in the nominations?
The reason – COVID and BLM
To put it simply, this was possible only because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. As far as COVID is concerned, the pandemic allowed many low-budget movies to enter the list of nominees. This was because large studios simply couldn’t afford to become super-spreaders amid a pandemic. And that not only allowed fresh faces to make it into the Oscars 2021 nominations but also brought in diversity. Low-budget films often have more diverse cast and crews than standard big-budget productions. And this aided the Academy in their effort to promote diversity amid their ranks. But, there’s also another reason, or some would say the main determining factor. And that is the George Floyd protests.
After Floyd’s murder, every single facet of American society had to reevaluate its relationship with race. And Hollywood was no different. As a result, The Academy made some major changes in their board of governors, such as making Ava DuVernay a member of the Board of Governors and nominating 10 films for the Best Picture award. Furthermore, the Academy also changed the criteria for a movie to be eligible for nomination for Oscars 2021. The changes aimed at again making the awards more diverse. And by the looks of the nominations, it looks like that they have succeeded thus far. But, we’ll have to see who wins the awards out of these nominees on the night of Oscars 2021 and the 93rd Academy Awards. The 2021 Oscars will take place on April 26, 2021. You can read the complete list of nominees here.