Aunjanue Ellis of King Richard and Ariana DeBose of West Side Story nabbed nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards on Tuesday morning.
Ellis played Oracene Williams (Price) in the 2021 film about Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Willams. DeBose played Anita in the 2021 remake of West Side Story.
They are nominated alongside Kirstin Dunst (The Power of the Dog), Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter) and Judi Dench (Belfast).
On her role in West Side Story, DeBose told Shadow and Act last year, “This is made with such tremendous integrity and quite frankly, I’m really honored to be a part of it because speaking to my casting in particular, he didn’t have to. He did not have to hire an Afro-Latina. And yet he was brave enough, he and Tony Kushner were brave enough to not only hire me, but talk about it in the screenplay. Even subtly we address it, it’s not just a stunt. I am not a stunt. I’m real and they validate the lived experience of Afro-Latinos everywhere by being brave enough to go there with me.”
Ellis spoke to us about her real-life-based character in King Richard, stating, “They’re extraordinary, but they’re not rare. What’s rare is that we don’t see those kinds of portrayals enough. I’m hoping that women like Miss Oracene, who are builders of a dream, but at the same time they’re caregivers, they’re providers. They cook, they clean, they sew, and make clothes. She was all of those things and so many women, so many mothers, so many Black mothers can see that and see a reflection of themselves.”
The Oscars will air on March 27.