The Oscars just took a big step away from #OscarsSoWhite. Here's how big.

Once upon a time, white people took every single nomination in every single acting category at the 2015 Academy Awards.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

That's 20 acting slots, for anyone counting.


Then, the following year, a funny thing happened.

Every slot, in every acting category: white person. Again.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images.

Listen, I'm a white person who has no qualms with white people winning awards. But doesn't two straight years of exclusively white actors snagging nods seem a bit ... much?

Clearly, I wasn't the only one to think so.

In reaction to the Academy's preference for a specific type of actor, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite — coined by April Reign, managing editor of BroadwayBlack.com — was born, calling attention to the obvious inequities reflected in the nominations.

So you can imagine why the internet was waiting with bated breath for the morning of Jan. 24, 2017 — the day this year's nominations were announced.  

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Image.

Fortunately, there were some major improvements to celebrate.

Of the 20 acting nominations, seven were given to people of color — the highest number in a decade.

There's at least one non-white person in every category, with Denzel Washington ("Fences") up for Best Actor and Ruth Negga ("Loving") up for Best Actress.

Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The supporting categories are more diverse, particularly among the actresses, where three of the five slots went to women of color —  Viola Davis (“Fences”), Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”). Davis now has three Oscar nominations under her belt, making her the most nominated black actress of all time.

In the best supporting actor category, Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) could become the first Muslim ever to win in this category, while Dev Patel ("Lion") is just the third Indian actor ever to be nominated in any acting category.

Aside from acting, other categories aren't so lily-white this year either.

Four of the best picture nominees — "Hidden Figures," "Lion," "Fences," and "Moonlight," which tells the story of a young, black gay man — feature predominantly non-white casts, while four nominations in the documentary feature category — Ava DuVernay (“13th”), Ezra Edelman (“O.J.: Made in America”), Raoul Peck (“I Am Not Your Negro”), and Roger Ross Williams (“Life, Animated”) — went to black artists, The Wrap reported.

What's more, three black writers were nominated in the adapted screenplay category — Barry Jenkins' and Tarell McCraney's "Moonlight," and the late August Wilson's "Fences" — in a category where four of the five nominations went to films with mostly non-white casts.

Filmmaker Barry Jenkins, nominated for "Moonlight." Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Don't get me wrong — plenty of groups remain underrepresented, such as Latinx and Asian artists. As April Reign told the Los Angeles Times, the Oscar nods are much "blacker" — not necessarily a whole lot more diverse — than years past.

Still, this year's nominations do feel like a breath of fresh air.

"This year’s slate of Oscars nominees highlights that, when given the opportunity, films that reflect the diversity of this country will shine," Reign said in a statement, noting she's especially encouraged to see Bradford Young become the first black cinematographer to be nominated for "Arrival," and see films like "Fences," "Lion," "Hidden Figures," and "Moonlight" get the recognition they deserve.

The reason why the Oscars tend to be so white isn't a problem that can be fixed by one year of diverse nominees.

The demographics of the Academy — made up of thousands of industry bigwigs who vote for the winners — is older, very white, and predominantly male. And this shows in which films, and which artists, are nominated.

It certainly doesn't help that even getting the chance to become an Oscar contender is much more difficult for filmmakers and artists from marginalized groups. Hollywood's more hesitant to green-light projects it believes to be more financially risky*, so films and storylines featuring people of color — or LGBTQ characters or women or religious minorities (you get the picture) — get overlooked.

*Important note: Films featuring minorities can and do make money at the box office.

The Academy has a long road ahead in diversifying its membership and better reflecting the world we live in. But it's making progress.

In 2016, after another year of white actors filled every acting slot, the Academy announced major changes in how it will be selecting new voters and managing existing ones, aiming to double "the number of women and diverse members" by 2020.

President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who has become a big proponent of diversifying the Oscars. Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for LACMA.

Although 2017 promises to be a more diverse Oscars than the previous two, one year doesn't make up for decades of underrepresentation, as Reign noted. It's important Hollywood recognizes that.

"Films that reflect the nuance and complexity of all theatergoers have been incredibly successful this year, both critically and financially," she said. "It is incumbent upon Hollywood to ensure that more stories like these are told."

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
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A 2015 survey conducted by the National Union of Students found that 60% of respondents turned to porn to fill in the gaps in sex education. While 40% of those people said they learned a little, 75% of respondents said they felt porn created unrealistic expectations when it comes to sex. Some of the unrealistic expectations from porn can be dangerous. A study found that 88% of porn contained violence, and another study found that those who consumed porn were more likely to become sexually aggressive.

But now the thing that breaks those unrealistic expectations… might also be porn? Pornhub has launched a sex education section.

The adult website's first series is simply titled, "Pornhub Sex Ed" and contains 11 videos and is accessible through the Pornhub Sexual Wellness Center. The section also contains articles, some showing real anatomy and examples in order to bust myths people may have picked up on other portions of the website.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

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An ER nurse in South Dakota shared her experience treating COVID patients—some of whom refuse to believe they have COVID—and it's really shocking. One might think that the virus would become real to people if they were directly affected by it, but apparently that's just not true for some. As Jodi Doering wrote on Twitter:

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Nikic's journey to become an Ironman started off as a challenge far less lofty. He and his father, Nik, created the "1 percent better challenge." The idea was to keep Chris motivated during the pandemic and beyond. According to The Washington Post, the idea was for Chris to improve his workouts by one percent each day because he "doesn't like pain" but loves "food, videos games and my couch." The plan was to keep building strength and stamina while keeping his eye on the grand prize of completing a triathlon. Nik told the Panama City News Herald, "I was concerned because after high school and after graduation a lot of kids with Down syndrome become isolated and just start living a life of isolation. I said, 'Look, let's go find him something to get him back into the world and get him involved,' so we started looking around and we were fortunate that at the same time Special Olympics Florida started this triathlon program, and I thought, 'What a great way to get him started, get him in shape and get him to make some friends.'"


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