At last year's Oscars, Host Chris Rock pulled no punches when talking about the lack of diversity in nominations for films and actors.
"Is Hollywood racist? You damn right Hollywood is racist," said Rock.
This year Hollywood insiders are saying the academy got it right
“You can't say that diversity is a problem when it comes to the best picture nominations because they go all throughout the gamut" said WWL movie critic Alfred Richard.
Front runner La La Land leads the Oscar race with a total of 14 nominations. Richard says it's up against some stiff competition in Hidden Figures, Moonlight, and Fences. A sign of change in the way the academy is voting.
"We're also seeing a lot of films with strong female performances and strong African-American themes in this year. It's not as if the academy is trying to throw a bone but it's almost as if the academy is realizing the changeover that they've had that maybe we should expand our horizons a little bit more" said Richard.
Ameer Baraka is a New Orleans Actor and Voting member of the Academy. He believes that evolution can be seen in the nominations for best actor and supporting actress that include Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and Naomi Harris.
"You have to realize you have a lot of old heads that are doing a lot of the voting and a lot of those people simply have to take a step back and let this new generation come in that really doesn't see color, they just see talent" said Baraka.
Talent that's led to a tough race for this year's breakout stars.