Skip To Content
  • Oscars badge

This Is The First Time Three Black Women Have Been Nominated In An Oscars Category

Finally, a bit of representation.

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were revealed on Tuesday morning and when the nominees for Best Supporting Actress were announced, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, and Octavia Spencer made history.

Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Davis, Harris, and Spencer were nominated for their work in Fences, Moonlight, and Hidden Figures, respectively.

Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images


Valerie Macon / Getty Images


Getty Images


Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) and Nicole Kidman (Lion) are vying for the coveted golden statue in the Best Supporting Actress category, as well.

But what makes this moment so unique and special is it's the first time three black women have been nominated in an acting category, the first time three black women have been distinct nominees in any category, and the first time three black people have been distinct nominees in any category. Yep, it's the first time black people are the majority in a category at the Oscars.

Congrats to our Supporting Actress nominees! #Oscars #OscarNoms

That's right. In EIGHTY NINE YEARS this is a lot of firsts for the Oscars.

Back in 2005, Three 6 Mafia won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for their song "It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp." However, the nominations for Spencer, Harris, and Davis are unprecedented because they are three black women competing in the same category (again, a first) and because Three 6 Mafia only counted as a single nomination, shared by the three men in the group.

At least three people of color have been nominated in acting categories before...

Rob Boren / AFP / Getty Images

For example, at the 1984 Academy Awards Adolph Caesar (A Soldier's Story), Noriyuki "Pat" Morita (The Karate Kid), and Haing S. Ngor (The Killing Fields) were all nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category, with Ngor winning the award.

The same goes for the 2003 broadcast, too. Benicio Del Toro (21 Grams), Djimon Hounsou (In America), and Ken Watanabe (The Last Samurai) were all nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category.

And finally, it happened at the 2006 show, as well. Adriana Barraza (Babel), Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) were all up for the Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category, where Hudson ultimately won the award.

...and although there's still work to be done until people of all races are fairly represented by the crown jewel of film awards, the nominations of these black women is particularly celebratory considering the #OscarsSoWhite talk that dominated past awards seasons.

oh hey the oscars nominated black people this year! good job.

A lot of people were ecstatic about the news.

I'm so excited the Academy Awards nominated 3 incredible, talented, strong black women 4 BSA! It's abt damned time! #Hopeful #Change #Oscars

A great thing indeed.

So great to see so many black artists nominated for Oscars this year!

Here's to black women finally getting some recognition.

Couldnt care less about Oscars, but im here for dark skinned black women (Viola Davis, Naomi Harris & Octavia Spencer) getting recognition

The 89th Academy Awards will air on Feb. 26, 2017.

Fox / Via

TV and Movies

Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

Newsletter signup form