Ahead of the announcement of this year's Academy Award nominees, knives were being sharpened in anticipation of yet another list that did not represent women and people of colour who are so often shut out by their white, male colleagues.

While this year's list of nominations is still predominantly white, a handful of major nominations has made it clear that the slow progress in improving inclusivity - ever since the infamous #OscarsSoWhite backlash - is only just gaining momentum.

Greta Gerwig became only the fifth woman in history to be nominated for Best Director, while Jordan Peele became only the fifth black man to be nominated for the award. Better still, both achieved that kudos with their debuts as film directors.

Their movies - Lady Bird and Get Out respectively - were also nominated in the Best Picture category.

Guillermo del Toro meanwhile, has become the fourth Latino director to be nominated. Alejandro González Iñárritu, a former Latino nominee, has been nominated on three occasions.

Elsewhere, in what was quietly the biggest news to come from the nomination announcement, Rachel Morrison became the first woman nominated in the Best Cinematography category for her work on Mudbound.

Dee Rees became the first black woman nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category for Mudbound and only the second to be nominated in a screenwriting category at all.

In other notable nominations for people of colour, Get Out's breakout star Daniel Kaluuya received a Best Actor nod alongside Academy stalwart Denzel Washington for the legal drama Roman J Israel, Esq. Mary J Blige and Octavia Spencer were also nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Blige also becomes the first actor to ever be nominated for their work in a film directed by a woman of colour.

Some observers might point to the the nominees in the Best Supporting Actor and Best Actress categories still being entirely comprised of white people as evidence that there is still much to do. But the desire to see those in the minority of actors, directors and filmmakers working in Hollywood get their just recognition is not a call for mandatory inclusion in every category.

Everyone wants to see the best of the best being nominated.

In 2016, following #OscarsSoWhite, progress was made in opening up membership of the Academy, with a large influx of new members of which 46% were women and 41% were people of colour.

Change is destined to be slow and incremental as the dynamic in Hollywood shifts irreversibly towards a better balance.

For once, an Oscar nominations list is being celebrated, not ridiculed, and that's great to see.

The 90th Academy Awards will be held on 4 March. The ceremony is once again being hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. This year's frontrunner is del Toro's romantic fairy tale The Shape of Water, which leads the way with 13 nominations.