It’s no secret that the Academy Awards have had issues with racial inclusivity when it comes to choosing nominees, and yet 2019 has brought about a marked shift, with black films, actors and directors being nominated for some of the most prestigious awards, including Best Picture.
We take you through the Academy Award-nominated films on our must-watch list that feature black Oscar-nominated actors, directors and ensemble casts.
BEST PICTURE NOMINEES
If you haven’t seen 2018’s star-studded blockbuster Marvel film about a superhero prince returning to his African homeland after the death of his father, then this is the first film you should watch before turning your television on to catch the Academy Awards this Sunday. Nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Costume Design and Original Music Score, this film is the epitome of excellence with an all-star black cast.
Produced by Get Out director Jordan Peele and directed by the legendary Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansmen is the quintessential Spike Lee comedy-drama tackling issues of race through the story’s black law enforcement protagonist investigating his local chapter of the KKK with the help of his Jewish partner. Lee earns himself three nominations with this project for Best Director, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Mahershala Ali plays world-class pianist Dr Don Shirley, who hires a rough and tumble white driver (Viggo Mortenson) to escort him as he conducts a tour of the American Deep South during the 1960s. Heartwarming and dramatic, this film has also earned Mahershala a best supporting actor nod for this year’s Academy Awards.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEE
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
A poignant film about the power of love being the bond that keeps a family together, If Beale Street Could Talk is a love story that transcends the two main characters and focuses on how their love and the life they’ve created affects the lives of their families too. King portrays Sharon Rivers, a matriarch determined to stand by her pregnant daughter, whose fiancé has been imprisoned. Also nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay and Original Score Academy Award, this film is both weighty and beautiful in its message of unity.