Greater diversity expected at this year's Oscars

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the details.

In 2016, there was outrage when, for the second year in a row, all of the Oscar nominees in the acting categories were white.

This year's nominees won't be revealed until January 24, but already, there are signs that 2017 will be different.

The lack of diversity among the nominees was addressed by Spike Lee in the past.

"This is something that really can't be ignored," he said.

Since then, we've seen "The Birth of a Nation," "Hidden Figures" and "Moonlight" all emerge as likely Oscar contenders. And certain to be in the running are Viola Davis and Denzel Washington for their lead acting roles in "Fences."

"Actors of color are waking up," said Davis, who recreates her Tony-winning performance in the film.

Director Barry Jenkins shot "Moonlight" in the neighborhood where he grew up.

"I do think this is a beautiful time to be a person of color," he said.

Kelly Freeman Craig, the star of "The Edge of Seventeen," agreed.

"It feels like we're turning a corner," she said. "And I'm just excited to be a part of that."

The New York Film Critics singled out her movie and recognized "Moonlight" twice.

"I think that Hollywood began hearing us," the Reverend Al Sharpton said. "We marched at the Oscars last year. We'll see where it goes."

Davis remains optimistic, as well, but she feels the actors and artists need to work hard to be heard and seen.

"We want to be reflected in the narratives that are being produced," she said. "We are going to keep pushing our stories."

"Hidden Figures," about the mathematicians and scientists who helped the United States reach the moon, is going into wide release on Friday. "Variety" predicts this movie will gross between $16 million and $18 million in its first weekend.
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