With the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trending through the years to call out the Oscars’ apparent lack of diversity, it seems that the Academy has heard the cries loud and clear—at least, for this year’s Best Actor nominees.
Steven Yeung (The Walking Dead, Okja) serves as the first Asian-American to be nominated in the category for his performance in the Lee Isaac Chung drama Minari. Meanwhile, Riz Ahmed (Venom, The Night Of) is the first Muslim nominee for The Sound of Metal.
The two are up against the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Anthony Hopkins, (The Father), and Gary Oldman (Mank).
riz ahmed being nominated for best actor at the oscars for playing a role that isn't associated with the stereotypical terr0rist narrative is so appealing to me.— zainab⁷ (@joonsgenre) March 15, 2021
Both serving as historic nominations for the 93-year-old awarding ceremonies, the Oscars have slowly been dispelling the allegations of white-washing. Last year, the Korean movie Parasite became the first non-English film to win the coveted Best Picture award.
Women also mark a landmark year for the Awards, as this year is the first time that the Oscars have nominated two women as Best Director—Nomadland’s Chloé Zhao and Promising Young Woman’s Emerald Fennell.
As for the question of whether or not #OscarsSoWhite will trend again this year, we’ll just have to wait and see during awards night on April 26.
Photos from Riz Ahmed’s Instagram account and The Walking Dead / AMC