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What Diversity Problem? 2017 Academy Awards the Most Diverse Ever

Mahershala Ali accepts the award for best actor in a supporting role.

Less than two years since the #Oscarsowhite controversy, which was prompted by a lack of black actors being nominated for Academy Awards for acting, efforts to bring more diversity to the Oscars have paid off, as exemplified by this year’s Best Picture winner “Moonlight.”

In  addition, six black actors were nominated for Academy Awards this year – Denzel Washington (Best Actor); Ruth Negga (Best Actress);Octavia Spencer (Best Actress); Mahershala Ali, who won “Best Supporting Actor”; Naomie Harris (Best Supporting Actress) and Viola Davis, who won for “Best Supporting Actress.”

Calls for greater diversity of among those who vote on nominees and winners led the Academy of Motion Picture Arts to include a more diverse group of people among the new members it accepts.

In addition to acting nominations, playwright August Wilson earned a posthumous nomination for “Fences,” who lost to “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins in the “Best Adapted Screenplay” category. Director Ava DuVernay also earned an Oscar nomination for Netflix-released documentary “13th,” which is about mass incarceration. The film lost to the “O.J.: Made in America” documentary.

The expansion of the voting body may have also led to other diverse Academy Award nominations and victories. For example, Dev Patel was nominated in the Supporting Actor category for Lion. The nomination made Patel just the third actor of Indian descent to be nominated for an acting award at the Oscars. This year’s awards also honored Jackie Chan, who was only the fifth person of Asian descent to receive an Honorary Academy Award.

“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated for “Original Song,” was one of several actors wearing a blue ribbon in support of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has fought against President Trump’s immigration bans.