Oscars nominations more diverse in 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Oscar nominations are out and a few Bay Area faces are in the spotlight. This year, we are seeing a much more diverse group of nominees.

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Remember the 2016 Oscar nominations? None of the nominations went to a person of color, for the second year in a row.

Three years later and we have some change.

"There are certain things that aren't necessarily changing and then there are some areas where we see some big areas of representation that we haven't seen before," said Amissa Miller, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Saint Mary's College.

The "Oscars So White" hashtag was deleted this year as the academy nominated a more diverse group of actors.

Yalitza Aparicio of "Roma" was nominated for best actress. The Spanish-language drama is about a maid in Mexico City.

Mahershala Ali is also nominated for best-supporting actor for Green Book.

The Oakland native is a graduate of St. Mary's College in Moraga.

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"It's been wonderful because he's stayed connected to St. Mary's College since we all graduated a little more than 20 years ago," explained Lisa Moore, a classmate who is now Vice President of Advancement at Saint Mary's.

It was at St. Mary's where he first tried out for acting. Ali graduated in 1996.

After winning the Oscar in 2017 for his role in Moonlight, the school created the Moonlight scholarship fund.

"He wanted to make sure he could continue that legacy of helping first-generation students have a successful college experience," added Moore.

Amissa Miller, a performing arts teacher at Saint Mary's, invited him to her classroom.

"I think they are aware that audiences are becoming more critical about the media they are consuming and really wanting to see more voices heard and more faces represented," said Miller.

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Marvel's Black Panther is among the movies nominated for best film, but director Ryan Coogler also from Oakland will not go home with an Oscar.

Asians also continue to be excluded. "Crazy Rich Asians" hugely popular, did not get a single nomination and women directors were also left out. Eight movies and not a single one directed by a woman.
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