The 2016 Oscars Are More Diverse Than Usual — But Not In the Way You Think

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The Oscar nominations are out today, and naturally the only question on everyone’s mind is how many black nominees there are. Here’s the answer, in an update of a chart from last year:

The acting categories took a sharp turn upward, largely thanks to three black actors who were nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category (Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer). The songwriting category, by contrast, was unusually white this year.

But the best news comes from outside of the acting categories. The truth is that the Oscars for acting haven’t been especially white in recent years. It’s the Oscars for everything else that have been white. But this year, a record 9 percent of the nominees in the other categories were black. Some of this was due to the documentary category, which produced four films directed by African-Americans, but the rest of the list was blacker than usual too.

Any individual year is a crapshoot, of course, but this is a promising development. If you’re truly interested in seeing more diversity in Hollywood, forget about acting. It’s the “everything else” category to watch. That’s the one that’s been a white stronghold for 88 years and counting.

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