Are The 2019 Oscar Nominations A Step In The Right Direction?
Early this morning the nominees for the 2019 Academy Awards were announced. Social media churned the night before, almost eager to witness the possible trainwreck. I was admittedly curious when I woke up this morning, despite being mocked for my intensity by a friend who I’d argued with the night before about whole thing’s relevance. A writer myself, who happens to be in the middle of my Screenwriting MFA applications, there’s something mystical about the pomp and circumstance. I’ve sat back and pondered who I’d thank if I stood on that stage—if I could even get a word out in front of Gal Gadot without turning to a pile of mush—should a screenplay of mine be deemed worthy enough in some reality. I may have even scouted a few evenings gowns.
Most of the candidates were unsurprising, but I was pleasantly shocked to see Black Panther up for Best Picture. Not shocked because I thought the film was somehow unfit, quite the contrary as it was beautifully executed, but because it became the first superhero film to (arguably) grab the nomination. With Marvel and DC on the forefront of Hollywood today, it’s odd that it has taken so long for such a film to get a nod—but I personally can’t think of a more deserving contender. Alongside Black Panther, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman was also nominated.
In addition to Black Panther, we saw a fairly diverse lineup of nominees: Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Roma, Marina de Tavira and Regina King were nominated for their roles in Roma and If Beale Street Could Talk for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Other notable nominations include Ruth E. Carter for Costume Design and Hannah Beachler in Production Design for their work in Black Panther—also taking note that Beachler became the first black woman to be nominated for the award in Production Design.
GLAAD even noted that the 2019 lineup had a record number of LGBTQ-inclusive films among the nominees, such as The Favourite and Can You Ever Forgive Me? alongside numerous writers, directors, and actors for their work in multiple categories.
In years past, it’s become abundantly clear that the Oscars need to adapt and have needed to adapt for quite some time. There’s always room for improvement, regardless of medium or platform, but I think I can confidently attest that they’re moving in the right direction. To encourage this wave to keep on going, it’s just as important that we prop up and support diverse creators whose voices have yet to be heard: support writers, directors, actors, and artists whose stories and work could make a difference. Support education and those who seek it. Support each other, and don’t be afraid to tell us your story. We want to hear it, we want to see it, and we want to help you share it.