The People of Color Who Won Big at the Oscars

By Kenrya Rankin Feb 27, 2017

The 89th Academy Awards were tonight (February 26), and it boasted the most diverse acting nominee pool in Oscars history. But did the nominated people of color—and the films they created—actually win? Read on to find out who walked away with a statuette.

WINNER Best Picture: u2028Moonlight” u2028u2028
“Hacksaw Ridge”u2028
“Hell or High Water”
“Hidden Figures”
“La La Land”u2028
“Manchester by the Sea”

In perhaps the craziest moment of the night, presenter Faye Dunaway read the wrong film name when she announced the winner. The crew behind “La La Land” was deep into a group acceptance speech before someone realized they didn’t actually win. Watch it unfold below.




WINNER Actor in a Supporting Role: u2028Mahershala Ali, “Moonlightu2028
Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
u2028Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
u2028Dev Patel, “Lion”u2028
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals” u2028u2028

Looking dapper in black on black on black, Ali talked about the importance of being in service of the story and the characters in “Moonlight.” Before leaving the stage, he also shouted out his wife, Amatus Sami-Karim, and their four-day-old daughter, Bari. Watch his acceptance speech below.


u2028u2028WINNER Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlightu2028”
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”u2028
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures” u2028
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

The third nomination is the charm for Viola Davis, whose walk to the stage was accompanied by a standing ovation. Through tears, Davis talked about what she loves about being an actress: "We are the only profession that celebrates what it means to live a life." She dedicated the award to playwright August Wilson—who wrote both the screenplay and the original play—"who exhumed and exhaulted ordinary people." Get ready to cry as you watch Davis’ speech below.


WINNER Writing (Adapted Screenplay):u2028 “Moonlight”
“Hidden Figures”

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney won for this screenplay, which was adapted from McCraney’s unproduced play, "In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue." They both used their time on stage to advocate for the same people they featured in the film. Jenkins dedicated his Oscar to "all you people out there who feel like there’s no mirror for you, that your life is not reflected, the Academy has your back, the ACLU has your back, we have your back. And for the next four years we will not leave you alone, we will not forget you." And McCraney said, "This goes out to all those Black and Brown boys and girls and nongender conforming, who don’t see themselves. We’re trying to show you you and us. So thank you, thank you. This is for you." Watch their joint speech below.


WINNER Documentary (Feature):u2028 “O.J.: Made in America
“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”u2028

“O.J.: Made in America” was directed by Ezra Edelman, who dedicated the award to Nicole Brown Simpson, Ron Goldman and the "victims of police violence, police brutality, racially-motivated violence and criminal injustice." Watch Edelman’s speech below.

The stars of “Hidden Figures” presented Edelman the award, after bringing Katherine Johnson—one of the NASA mathematicians whose story is portrayed in their movie—to the stage.  

WINNER Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman”
“Land of Mine”
“A Man Called Ove”
“Toni Erdmann”

Asghar Farhadi was clear ahead of the Oscars that he was not interested in traveling to the United States for the ceremony. His acceptance speech—which was delivered by Iranian astronaut Anousheh Ansari—made clear why. "My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S." Watch the stirring speech below.


Notable nominees of color who didn’t win include: Barry Jenkins for directing (“Moonlight”), Denzel Washington for lead actor (“Fences”), Ruth Negga for lead actress (“Loving”), Lin-Manuel Miranda for original song (“Moana”),  Joi McMillon for film editing (“Moonlight”) and Bradford Young for cinematograpy (“Arrival”).

See the full list of nominees and winners here.

*Story has been updated to reflect that Faye Dunaway announced the best picture winner.