Academy Awards winners by year

Will next year's Academy Awards see #OscarsSoDiverse?

David Oyelowo , Ruth Negga, Nate Parker, Gugu Mbatha-RawContender potential … (clockwise from top left) David Oyelowo, Ruth Negga, Nate Parker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Composite: AFP/Getty Images/Invision/AP

As the curtain closes on the 2016 ceremony, next year’s Oscars are more eagerly anticipated than ever.

Related: OscarsSoWhite: Chris Rock exposed the depths of the industry's race problem

The Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has instigated a range of changes that aim to improve diversity within the voter base, while industry figures and other notable voices have all expressed a desire for change. Civil rights activist Al Sharpton has already claimed that he will escalate protests if next year’s winners are all white.

A United KingdomActors Idris Elba and Michael B Jordan might have been snubbed this year, but in 2017, a range of films and performances could provide the awards with some much-needed diversity.

Here are the films which might prevent #OscarsSoWhite from trending again.

A United Kingdom

The marrying kind … Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo in A United Kingdom.

Potential nominees: Amma Asante, David Oyelowo

British director Amma Asante’s last film, the period drama Belle, was seen as a small-scale sleeper success on release, with some suggesting that star Gugu Mbatha-Raw deserved attention from the Academy for her performance. Her next film sounds like it has a stronger chance. The cast is headed by Oscar nominee Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo, who was unfairly snubbed in 2015 for his arresting turn in Selma. They star as a real-life couple whose marriage caused international outrage in the 1940s.

Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving.Loving

Powerful drama … Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton in Loving. Photograph: Ben Rothstein/AP

Potential nominees: Ruth Negga

Another film about the struggle of a real-life interracial couple comes from director Jeff Nichols, who impressed with Take Shelter and Mud. It stars Ethiopian-Irish actor Ruth Negga and The Gift’s breakout Joel Edgerton as a couple who were sent to prison for getting married in 1950s Virginia. Oscar winner Colin Firth is a producer, and the film’s powerful fact-based drama sounds like awards-friendly material.

Nate Parker in The Birth of a NationThe Birth of a Nation

Slavery epic … Nate Parker in The Birth of a Nation. Photograph: Elliot Davis

Potential nominees: Nate Parker, Aja Naomi King

The biggest story to come out of this year’s Sundance film festival was the overwhelming success of Nate Parker’s slavery drama, which was purchased by Fox Searchlight for a record-breaking $17.5m. The actor, who had roles in Non-Stop and Beyond the Lights, also directed the film, which has been a passion project. He’s already getting awards buzz for his work in front of and behind the camera, and – along with co-star Aja Naomi King, best known for How to Get Away with Murder – he’s close to a cert for Oscar glory.

Queen of Katwe

Chess gambit … Lupita Nyong’o, right, in Queen of Katwe.
Queen of Katwe Ang Lee Will Smith Gugu Mbatha-Raw
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