“It is a huge honor to receive this nomination,” Questlove said in a statement.
After Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan announced the nominees for the 94th Academy Awards on Tuesday, there was celebration and jubilation as Black and LGBT+ actors and actresses were among those recognized.
The Academy announced the “biggest voter turnout in 94 years,” with movies like King Richard, West Side Story and Dune earning Best Picture nominations.
King Richard, the biopic about Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena, is nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, and Film Editing. Smith and co-star Aunjanue Ellis are nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.
“WOW!! 6 Oscar noms for #kingrichard.. that’s CRAZY,” Smith posted. “Honored to see this outpouring of love for our film 🙂 Proud of you Aunjanue, Zach, Pamela, Dixon, Beyoncé and our fantastic cast and crew. Great work all! – Will Smith
Beyoncé earned her first Oscar nomination with the original song “Be Alive,” that she wrote with songwriter Dixson for King Richard.
Ellis’ Instagram fan page showed her reaction to her first Oscar nomination.
The other nominees for Best Original Song include Encanto’s “Dos Orguitas” by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Van Morrison’s “Down To Joy” in Belfast, Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell for the No Time to Die theme song, and Diane Warren’s “Somehow You Do” in Four Good Days.
Denzel Washington earned his seventh Best Actor nomination for his role in The Tragedy of Macbeth while Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson was recognized in the Documentary Feature category for his directorial debut Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised).
Questlove attends the GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE World Premiere on Nov. 15, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)
“It is a huge honor to receive this nomination,” Thompson said in a statement.
“The Harlem Cultural Festival was both a testament to Black genius and Black joy at a formative time in our country’s history, and a cautionary tale about the way that history, especially Black history, can be erased,” Thompson said. “Being entrusted with the responsibility of keeping that past visible has been one of the great honors of my life. I am beyond gratified to be nominated alongside these four other incredible filmmakers. Congratulations to the entire filmmaking team and everyone at Searchlight, Onyx, and Hulu.”
Tara Duncan, president of Freeform and Onyx Collective, said in a statement: “Thank you to the Academy for recognizing Ahmir’s singular directorial debut and the tireless work of the filmmaking team to bring the Harlem Cultural Festival out of the shadows and to the forefront.
It is incredibly gratifying for Summer of Soul and The Harlem Cultural Festival to not only be known but to be recognized and celebrated. For Onyx Collective, this is the film that we wanted to define our brand. We’re overjoyed and humbled that our mission to curate culturally specific stories has already brought so much joy and pride to audiences around the world.”
Other nominees for Best Documentary Feature are Flee, Ascension; Writing With Fire, and Attica from Emmy-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till) and co-director Traci A. Curry.
Stanley Nelson Jr.at the 2021 Toronto International Film Festival on Sept. 9, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Juanito Aguil/Getty Images)
Attica recounts in vivid detail the five-day 1971 prison rebellion at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, which took the lives of 29 inmates and 10 hostages – the deadliest single day of violence Americans inflicted on each other since the Civil War.
“Thank you to the Academy and congratulations to my fellow nominees for Best Documentary Feature. I am so thrilled that Attica, a film I’ve been wanting to make for decades, has received this level of recognition and I am very thankful to the wonderful team at Showtime for believing in the power of this story,” said Nelson, a first-time Oscar nominee.
“It’s an immense honor to be nominated along with my fantastic collaborator Traci A. Curry. Together we strived to create a balanced and accurate account of this tragic moment in history. The story of the Attica uprising continues to resonate 50 years later in discussions around impactful prison and criminal justice reform. We are so grateful that the people who lived through these events were willing to open up to us in the way that they did and I hope we have done justice to their stories,” he continued.
Attics can be seen for free through the end of February on Sho.com and YouTube, as well as across multiple streaming and on-demand platforms.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled for Stanley to get his long-overdue first Academy Awards nomination,” said Vinnie Malhotra, executive vice president, nonfiction programming, Showtime Networks. “This incredible honor for him is an appropriate addition to an already wonderful legacy he’s left on the world of documentary. That it coincides with the first Oscar nomination for Showtime Documentary Films is only further cause for celebration.”
Several outstanding performances by LGBTQ talent and LGBTQ-inclusive films also received nods, including queer actor Kristen Stewart in the Best Actress category for her portrayal of Princess Diana in Spencer.
GLAAD responded to the nominations with a statement from president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
“This year’s Oscar nominations for performances from queer actors including Ariana DeBose and Kristen Stewart, as well for powerful LGBTQ stories in films like West Side Story, Flee, and The Mitchells vs. The Machines, are clear reminders of the opportunities that exist with audiences and critics when Hollywood invests in queer talent and tells diverse stories in bold and original ways,” said Ellis.
“With several worthy LGBTQ stories, actors, and creators absent from this year’s list, the industry and Academy should prioritize investing in and recognizing creators and stories from LGBTQ and other marginalized communities that audiences both crave and connect with,” the statement continued.
Winners of the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on March 27 in Los Angeles.
This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Jared Alexander.
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