Thursday, February 02, 2006
The Gold Hush: Black Actresses and The Oscar
Much has been said about Black actresses and their tumultuous relationship with Hollywood but nothing speaks more clearly than the history of Black women at the Academy Awards. After the recent Oscar nominations, we thought it fitting to take an in-depth look at this disturbing phenomenon.
Over the 77 year history of the Academy Awards, only 3 African American women have walked away with the coveted Oscar trophy.
Here is a list of women whose work has been acknowledged with nominations by the Academy:
Best Supporting Actress
1939: Hattie McDaniel*, Gone with the Wind
1948: Ethel Waters, Pinky
1959: Juanita Moore, Imitation of Life
1967: Beah Richards, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
1983: Alfre Woodard, Cross Creek
1985: Margaret Avery, The Color Purple
1985: Oprah Winfrey, The Color Purple
1990: Whoopi Goldberg*, Ghost
1996: Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Secrets and Lies
2002: Queen Latifah, Chicago
2004: Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda
1954: Dorothy Dandridge, Carmen Jones
1972: Diana Ross, Lady Sings the Blues
1972: Cicely Tyson, Sounder
1974: Diahann Carroll, Claudine
1985: Whoopi Goldberg, The Color Purple
1993: Angela Bassett, What's Love Got to Do with It
2001: Halle Berry*, Monster's Ball
(*) Indicates Academy Award Winners
While African American men continue to make strides at the Academy Award (a huge congratulations to Terrence Howard for his Best Actor nod for Hustle and Flow) black women are still far behind in quality roles that would warrant Oscar consideration.
Almost 70 years after the first black woman won an Academy award, African American actresses still have a long road ahead.