For the first time in history, a record 6 black actors were nominated for Academy Awards. But actress Viola Davis denies the rise in black nominations is in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that nearly disrupted the 2016 Academy Awards.
Prior to 2017, the only way black actors were guaranteed at least an Oscar nomination was if they accepted demeaning roles playing maids, drug dealers or crack heads.
This year, seven of the top 20 nominees in acting categories are not white, but Viola, who is up for a Best Supporting Actress trophy for her role in Fences, insists it's the actors' talent -- not the color of their skin.
"There's a lot of typecasting - age, sex, color, dark-skinned, light-skinned," she told Variety.com at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday night.
"Response to OscarSoWhite? No. I think that every nominee from Naomie Harris to Octavia Spencer to Hidden Figures to Fences to Moonlight to Mahershala Ali are up there because they deserve to be there. They're not there because of the color of their skin. They put in the work. So the answer to that is no."
But not everyone agrees with Viola. Some observers say handing out participation trophies like candy defeats the purpose of recognizing actors for the accomplishments.
Loyal reader Di Ana commented in response to the parade of black winners at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards:
"This has to be the first time in history that so many black actors and actresses walked away with an award. The organizers more than likely did not want a boycott, which defeats the purpose of giving trophies cause now you just giving out just to be giving out. It holds no value."
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