Practically ever since they began, American awards shows such as the Emmys, Oscars, and Grammys have faced issues of racism, given the limited diversity of their nominees and the few number of people of color who won their awards.
But as time progressed, more non-Caucasian actors, directors, and the like have been nominated for these sought-after awards. However, it is still a drastically lower figure than white actors. (Read: 3 Times Beyoncé Gave Voice to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement)
According to the Utica Public Library in New York, there are only 14 African American winners of acting awards for the Oscars (or Academy Awards), and only 50 others (excluding the winners) who have been nominated.
This is the reason why it still comes as great news whenever African Americans or Asians win in these major awards shows. And people still consider these wins to be historic, given the dominance of Caucasian winners.
Different Oscars 2021
The 93rd Academy Awards this year spells a different picture. It was indeed a night of superlatives and firsts— a refreshing sight to see. For starters, Sir Anthony Hopkins, best known for Hannibal and King Lear, has become the oldest actor to win an Oscars. The 83-year-old was named Best Actor for The Father.
Meanwhile, Frances McDormand won her third Oscar Best Actress award for her performance in Nomadland. She now ties with Meryl Streep and Ingrid Bergman, and is just one shy of the record set by Katharine Hepburn who has four. (Read: LOOK: Crayola releases 24 new colors to represent different skin tones)
While they are indeed good news, these two wins by premiered actors are not the main highlights of the 93rd Oscars. That is because Asians and African Americans dominated the list of winners and nominees this year!
Asians, African Americans Win Big
Firstly, Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther and Get Out) won Best-Supporting Actor for Judas and the Black Messiah. (Read: Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Chadwick Boseman)
On the other hand, 73-year-old Yuh-Jung Youn won Best-Supporting Actress for her performance in Minari. This makes her the first Korean actor to win an acting award in the Oscars, and is the first Asian actress to win an Oscar since 1957!
The film Nomadland definitely won big. Its director, Chloé Zhao, won the Best Director award, making her the first person of color to win the accolade, and only the second woman to do so.
Zhao’s film won Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing as well!
Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson also made history at the Oscars by being the first Black women to win Best Make-up and Hairstyle for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottoms.
The best original song went to “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah, written by Filipino-American singer H.E.R and Tiara Thomas, and music by Dernst Emile II. (Read: 5 Fil-Am Grammy Nominees to Watch Out for in 2021)