First Coast Connect: Joey O’Hern and Henny Stewart on 2017 Oscar Nominations

Jan 27, 2017

(L to R) Henny Stewart of "The Chat,” host Melissa Ross of "First Coast Connect" and Joey O’Hern, WJCT contributor, discuss this year's Oscar nominations

In 2015 and 2016, all 20 actors nominated for the Oscars by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the lead and supporting acting categories were white, inspiring the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite by April Reign.


Joey O’Hern, WJCT contributor, and Henny Stewart of “The Chat,” joined host Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect Friday to share their thoughts on the diversity of this year’s nominations, which included seven nominations for nonwhite actors.


Stewart said this is the start of something “really, really big,” and “with everything happening in Hollywood, there has to be more diversity, and I'm not just speaking of African American people.”


O’Hern added Dev Patel of “Lion” is the first Indian nominee for best supporting actor, however, Latino actors received no nominations.


Among other films, three of the best supporting actress nominees are black: Viola Davis in “Fences,” Naomie Harris in “Moonlight” and Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures.”


Stewart said “Hidden Figures” was “motivational, empowering and educational.”


“As an African American woman, it is a movie to make me feel like there is nothing in this world that I cannot do,” she said.


Despite the progress, O’Hern said the industry is still “so far behind,” compared to the British Academy Awards, which “require a certain amount of diversity in their films to be considered for a nomination.”


Nevertheless, Steward said, “It’s giving us hope that better things are to come.”


News Intern Joy Kader can be reached at, 561-900-5235 or on Twitter at @joykader95.