By: Mikayla Carter
The 2019 Academy Awards was a pivotal moment for diversity. The Academy received a lot of backlash in 2015 and 2016 for not having any people of color being nominated for the major 20 awards. Many celebrities decided to boycott the Oscars in prior years and #OscarsSoWhite was trending on Twitter and other social media platforms. Diversity, opportunity and representation has been a major issue in Hollywood, but this years’ Oscars was a step in the right direction.
History was made with 7 African American winners. Mahershala Ali became the first black actor to win two Oscars for best supporting actor in nhis roles in “Moonlight” and “Green Book.” Hannah Beachler is the first African American to win and Oscar for production design. Ruth E. Carter, became the first African American women, to receive an Academy Award for costume design for the film “Black Panther” (she joined 15 other women to earn honors across the Oscars’ 24 categories.) Peter Ramsey made Oscar history when he received the award for best animated feature as a black man. He also co-directed “Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse.” Regina King won best supporting actress in the film “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and Kevin Willmott and Spike Lee received the award for best adapted screenplay for “BlaKkKlansman.”
Alfonso Cuarón, a Mexican director and cinematographer, for the second time took Best Director Oscar, for his Spanish-language drama Roma, along with awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography.
Although it was great to see such diversity on the screen there is still a long way to go towards equal representation, inclusion, and opportunity. The Women’s Media Center, acknowledges that 75 percent of the nominees for non-acting awards are men, while the gender equality for categories like Best Director, Best Film ,Best Cinematography, Editing, and Best Original/Adapted Screenplay are still low. Nonetheless, this a huge step in the right direction.