Oscar Nominations Include a Diverse Supporting Actress Race and Historic First in Lead Actress

A relative diversity of ethnicities, genres and films characterized the nominations of the 2024 Oscars.

Seven of the 20 acting nominees are people of the global majority, spread across all four races. Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown were nominated for lead and supporting actor, respectively, for best picture nominee American Fiction, which skewers pop cultural depictions of Black life. They join Colman Domingo (Rustin) in the lead actor race as the three Black men nominated for an acting Oscar this year.

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Best supporting actress has historically been the most diverse of the acting races, and this year has been no different, with actresses of color comprising the majority of the category for the fifth time in Oscars history: The Color Purple’s Danielle Brooks, Barbie’s America Ferrera and The Holdovers’ Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Ferrera’s surprise nomination makes her the first-ever nominee of Honduran descent in any Oscars category, and she joins Domingo, whose father is from Belize and Guatemala (also heretofore unrepresented at the Academy Awards) as the two Latino acting nominees this year.

Ferrera has said that she has roots among Honduras’ Lenca people, which would make for two nominated actors with Indigenous ancestry at the 2024 Oscars. The other, of course, is best actress contender Lily Gladstone, who is the first Native American acting nominee in Academy Awards history. The Killers of the Flower Moon star’s nod gives her category a historic first for the second year in a row, following Michelle Yeoh’s breakthrough for actresses who identify as Asian.

GLAAD issued a statement Tuesday afternoon praising the nominations of Domingo and Nyad‘s Jodie Foster as the first time two out LGBTQ actors have been nominated for playing LGBTQ characters. “The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizing two out actors for playing real-life LGBTQ icons reminds the industry at large that queer stories resonate with audiences at large, and are worthy of celebration on a global stage,” said GLAAD vice president of communications and talent Anthony Allen Ramos, who also acknowledged Gladstone, who uses she/they pronouns in accordance with many non-gendered Native languages.

In her welcome remarks early Tuesday morning, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Janet Yang noted that the organization’s membership now comprises almost 11,000 people from 93 countries. This was the first year that the Academy’s representation and inclusion standards, which determine eligibility for best picture, went into effect, yielding four nominated movies at least partially not in English (Anatomy of a Fall, Killers of the Flower Moon, Past Lives and The Zone of Interest) and four comedies (American Fiction, Barbie, The Holdovers, Poor Things) joining Oppenheimer (13 total nominations) and Maestro (7).

The inclusion standards state that at least some members of the cast, crew or development/marketing/publicity/distribution teams must identify as a member of an underrepresented group, defined as women, historically excluded races or ethnicities, people of LGBTQ+ identity or people with cognitive or physical disabilities or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

According to the Academy, roughly a third of all nominees this year are women — a three-year high — and 19 percent hail from underrepresented groups (up from 15 percent in 2023). And a record-high three of the 10 Best Picture nominees were helmed by women — Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie and Celine Song’s Past Lives — but only Triet received a nomination for best director.

See the full list of 2024 Oscar nominees here.

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