Black actors won more Tonys last night than black actors have won Oscars in the last 9 years.
Specifically, all four of those performers are black: Daveed Diggs won best performance by an actor in a featured role for Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry won best performance by an actress in a featured role for Hamilton, Leslie Odom, Jr. won best performance by an actor in a leading role for Hamilton, and Cynthia Erivo won best performance by an actress in a leading role for The Color Purple.
“Think of tonight as the Oscars, but with diversity,” host James Corden joked in his opening monologue. He wasn’t kidding.
For perspective, that’s more awards handed out to black actors during the course of one three-hour broadcast than black actors have won at the last nine Academy Awards ceremonies. In that time, just three African-American performers have taken home Oscars, all in the category of Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique for Precious in 2009, Octavia Spencer for The Help in 2011, and Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave.
This is a tremendously big deal, especially when you consider that black actors were also well represented in the Tony nominations forShuffle Along, and huge talents like Nyong’o and Sophie Okonedo garnered non-musical nods for their roles in Eclipsed and The Crucible, respectively.
As if we needed more proof that it’s not only possible to give people of color great roles, but to reward them for excellent performances, the Broadway community has delivered. #OscarsSoWhite, what’s your excuse?