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

Best Actress

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.


The Cocoa Lounge said...

Oh yeah...Thandie Newton should have gotten a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Crash.

Sky Captain said...

Crash-very very good.
I worked with Marianne Jean-Baptiste's dad back in the 80's.
He is called Felix, and used to work for a Marquis(tent) company in the East End of London.
Great guy, used to make a nice cup of tea.I spent 4 months in his warehouse at Ferguson's Wharf on the Isle Of Dogs.
He told me the story of when Marianne was at RADA and had to simulate being raped.
Apparently she kicked the crap out of her 'assailant'.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Thandie Newton. That scene where she gets rescued. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I agree about Thandie Newton. That scene where she gets rescued. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

Maybe black women should work on projects they really believe in to get nominated like a lot of other actors do? Because whatever they're doing don't seem to be working.

P said...

You already know how I feel about black actresses (and actors) for that matter. I almost don't want to watch the oscars for that very reason.

Though I love Denzel I do think that he MUCH OVERDUE, WELL DESERVED Oscar was a "Gimme" oscar in light of everything else that was going on that year. Halle, well, love or or like her (which I'm not a big fan of), we can go all different ways with that one. There have been so many predecessors that were as deserving. Wrong time yes, wrong woman, no, wrong, role, definitely NOT. We REALLY could go on and on.

Cocoa: If I may - For those that DO want to know how I feel about them, here is the link to the particular post on the subject.

Very, Very, Good post in light of the upcoming festivities. Take care.

The Cocoa Lounge said...

Someday a change will come...

Soreheaduk: Looks like Marianne has been kicking butt for a long time!

P: Always appreciate your input. The truth, summed up in a few paragraphs.