Barry Jenkins is the first black filmmaker nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture for one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2016. Moonlight focuses on the life of a young African-American man growing up in a poverty-stricken and tough Miami neighborhood who’s also struggling with his sexuality. Not only is this film an accomplishment for the people of color community but it’s also an LGBT themed film and the first to potentially receive any major awards.
2017 is already a game changer compared to 2016. The 2016 Oscars were dubbed #OscarsSoWhite. There was very little recognition of anyone of color. But this year, the Academy seems to have noticed that there are more than just white people who act, direct, and write films. Jenkins and a handful of other actors, such as Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and Dev Patel have been nominated in best actor and supporting best actor categories. All 20 nominees in the main acting categories at last year’s Oscars were white for the second year running, prompting for the hashtag and outrage. Hopefully, this increase in diversity won’t end in 2017.
The 2017 Oscars will take place on February 26th. Next up for Jenkins is adapting Colson Whitehead’s bestselling novel, The Underground Railroad, as a limited series.