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Colman Domingo Earns First, History Making Academy Award Nomination for Best Lead Actor in 'Rustin'

TV & Film | Entertainment

Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 96th Oscars nominations. Hosted by actors Zazie Beetz and Jack Quaid, the nominations announcement ceremony was conducted live from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater via a global live stream.

For the category of Best Actor in A Leading Role, five actors were nominated: Colman Domingo (Rustin), Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction), Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), and Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer).

With this nomination, Colman Domingo earns his first Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in A Leading Role for his performance as openly gay, civil rights icon Bayard Rustin in the 2023 Netflix biographical drama Rustin.

On the same day of the announcement, Colman Domingo posted a statement on Instagram expressing his gratitude for the tremendous recognition.

“Overflowing. Thank you dear Bayard. Thank you @theacademy for this nomination. Trying to find the words. Today it is pure gratitude. For everything. The journey. The company. The highs. The very lows. The staying with it. Faith. Love. Light. Joy. Rejoice.”

Not only is this nomination Colman Domingo’s first, but the recognition itself has made Academy Award history in several different ways:

  • He is the first Afro-Latino nominated in the Best Actor category

  • He is the second, out gay man to be nominated for playing a gay character

  • He is the first out gay, Black man to be nominated for playing a gay character

  • He along with Jodie Foster are the first out LGBTQ+ actors to have been nominated for playing LGBTQ+ characters

Ironically, there are many more (presumably) heterosexual actors earning Oscar nominations for playing LGBTQ+ characters than out, LGBTQ+ actors.

(Source: Getty Images)

Bayard Rustin was a revolutionary activist who was instrumental in shaping Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violence politic and for organizing the monumental March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

Due to prejudice against his sexuality (from his own Black community no less), his work was relegated to a “behind-the-scenes” capacity out of fear his presence would be a liability. Although many forces tried to diminish his existence and impact, he persisted in thriving in his power as a gay, Black man in the 20th century.

Colman Domingo’s standout performance in Rustin has been lauded by critics and viewers alike for channeling the passionate, multifaceted spirit that is Bayard Rustin. Amidst such a notoriously challenging hallmark period of the Civil Rights Movement, Domingo, in his role, embodies a powerful force that never accepted defeat.

(Source: Netflix)

In our exclusive interview with Colman Domingo, he speaks about his role in Rustin and the significant gravity that comes along with playing LGBTQ+ characters.

“When I got the role, I was excited, but terrified, because it’s a great responsibility especially knowing that LGBTQIA+ characters are usually in the fringe of the story, not in the center…I feel like if I did my job well, there’ll be many more stories with us in the center.”

Similar to pioneer Bayard Rustin, now Academy Award-nominated actor Colman Domingo is breaking barriers, smashing ceilings, and cementing his place in history as a champion for Black, LGBTQ+ people.

We send a major Gaye congratulations to Colman Domingo for such a historical honor!

The 96th Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 10 from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. This year, the awards event will air at an earlier time from 4:00pm - 7:30pm. PT/7:00pm - 10:30pm ET, followed by a new episode of Abbott Elementary.

Here is the complete list of the 2024 Oscar nominees.

Check out our interviews with Rustin lead Colman Domingo and director George C. Wolfe:


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