NEW YORK -- This year, the Academy selected seven actors and actresses of color out of the 20 nominations in the four acting categories.
Ruth Negga was nominated for best actress for her role in “Loving,” a story about the couple who helped legalize interracial marriage in America.
Denzel Washington’s performance in “Fences,” an adaptation of African American August Wilson’s play, earned Washington an Oscar nomination for best actor. His co-star Viola Davis was nominated for best supporting actress.
“Fences,” along with “Lion,” “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures” all are up for best picture.
It’s a far cry from 2016, when the hashtag “Oscars So White” contributed to boycotts and protests against the Academy membership, which was then 92 percent white and 75 percent male.
The Academy later set a goal of doubling the number of women and diverse members by 2020.
“I think it’s definitely the right in the right direction,” said Aisha Harris, a culture writer for Slate.
“The Academy, really, when they do like to nominate stories about people of color and black people, they usually tend to be about slavery, the civil rights movement or something very oppression-heavy and devastating like ‘Precious,’ or along those lines,” she said.
“This time we have a way bigger swath of different types of stories being nominated.”
Still, some consider this year’s nominations a win, even before the first envelope is opened.