9 actors of color nominated to set Oscars record

Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News
·2 min read

Diversity played a starring role in Monday’s announcement of the 2021 Oscar nominees.

Nine actors of color were nominated across the four acting categories, setting a new Academy Awards record.

The nominees include Viola Davis and Andra Day for best actress; Steven Yeun, Riz Ahmed and Chadwick Boseman for best actor; LaKeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya and Leslie Odom Jr. for best supporting actor; and Youn Yuh-jung for best supporting actress.

The Academy Awards garnered tremendous backlash after every acting nominee was white in both 2015 and 2016 — a controversy known as #OscarsSoWhite.

Last year, “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo was the only Black actor to receive a nomination.

On Monday, Yeun became the first Asian American performer to receive a nomination for best actor. He stars in “Minari” as a Korean immigrant who moves his family to rural Arkansas to start a farm. Youn, who plays the grandmother in the film, is the first South Korean performer to be nominated for best supporting actress.

Ahmed, who stars as a drummer losing his hearing in “Sound of Metal,” is also nominated for best actor, marking the first time two performers of Asian descent are finalists in the category in a single year.

Stanfield and Kaluuya are both nominated for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a drama about an FBI informant who gets in close with Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton.

Leslie Odom Jr., who portrays singer Sam Cooke in “One Night in Miami...,” about a fictional meeting between icons, is nominated for best supporting actor as well.

Davis and Boseman are nominated for best actress and best actor, respectively, for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” a drama about a contentious recording session in the 1920s.

Day, who plays the titular jazz icon in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” is also nominated for best actress.