Stepping into the Light – 20 Feet From Stardom!✨

(Prince and Judith Hill. CreditPhotographs by Karrah Kobus/NPG Records, via Getty Images)

Mourning the 1 year passing of music legend Prince, I was amazed to learn about his relationship with the powerhouse singer-songwriter Judith Hill as her confidant and musical collaborator.

Ms. Hill was a contestant on the 2013 season of “The Voice” (the TV singing competition) and later that same year appeared in the Academy Award-winning documentary about backup singers, “20 Feet From Stardom” earning a Grammy for her performance.

Judith Hill

(“I was with Prince the last two years of my life,” Judith Hill said. “Now he’s gone, and I realize I was leaning on him a lot,” she said. “And that’s what’s scary. I’m on my own.” Credit: Elizabeth Weinberg for The New York Times)

Image result for judith hill the voice

I cheered for Ms. Hill on “The Voice” and was shocked when she didn’t make the cut. Her voice is phenomenal and once before she had been so close to blowing up as a recording star when she was paired as a featured vocalist with Michael Jackson on his ill-fated tour “This is It”. On “The Voice” I thought, maybe this time she’ll get her shot.

 

And now, with the passing of Prince, Judith would once again be denied the major exposure that could have skyrocketed her to the top of the musical ladder instead of her forever feeling – “20 feet from stardom”.

 

Image result for judith hill michael jackson

Judith Hill, Michael Jackson

 

Here’s a look at the Oscar-winning documentary about the incredible backup singers and the travesty of how their careers have always been “20 Feet From Stardom”.

 

20 feet from stardom

 

2014 Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Feature,  “20 Feet From Stardom” is directed by Morgan Neville and inspired by producer Gil Friesen’s quest to reveal the untold stories of the phenomenal voices behind some of the greatest artists in American music.

 

 

The film takes a backstage look at the lives and experiences of backup singers Darlene Love ( Rock & Roll Hall of Fame), Judith Hill (The Voice), Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega and Jo Lawry among others.

 

 

The Ladies Speak:  Lisa Fischer, Darlene Love, Judith Hill

 

Merry Clayton performed that killer background vocal on The Rolling Stones’ classic “Gimme Shelter”

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. I was thrilled when this film was released to showcase these gifted women that for whatever reason remain in the shadows. It’s a sad fact but, nevertheless, they stayed in the game and they are legends!

 

Image result for never give up on your dreams

 

Black History and Hollywood 🎇

Black History Month

 

black-history-month-collage

 

 Both the Oscars and Black History Month are recognized in February which gives me the perfect opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood.

 

oscars-2017

 

2015 and 2016 were standout years for the lack of Black filmmakers nominated for Oscars. However, 2017 breaks that record and will make African-American Oscar nominee history.

 

Hidden Figures

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer “Hidden Figures” (2016)

1. “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, 37, is the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

2. “Fences” star Viola Davis, 51, is the first Black actress to be nominated for an Oscar three times (Doubt in 2009, The Help in 2012) with her Best Supporting Actress nod.

3. “Arrival” cinematographer Bradford Young, 39, is the first African-American to be nominated for the Best Cinematography award. (Young is the second Black man; British cinematographer Remi Adefarasin was nominated for Elizabeth in 1998.)

Moonlight 2016

Moonlight

4. A Black actor is nominated in all four acting categories for the first time in history:

Denzel Washington, Best Actor, “Fences”

Ruth Negga, Best Actress, “Loving”

Mahershala Ali, Best Supporting Actor, “Moonlight”

Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress, “Hidden Figures”

Viola Davis, Best Supporting Actress, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, Best Supporting Actress, “Moonlight”

 

oscars-black-nominees


5. This is the first time that six African-American actors and actresses have been nominated in total. (The previous record was five in 2005 and 2007.)

6. “Moonlight” editor Joi McMillon is the first Black woman to be nominated for film editing.

7. This is the first time that three Black people have been nominated within a single category (Best Supporting Actress, in this case):

Viola Davis in Fences, Naomie Harris in Moonlight, and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures. (Carolyn L. Todd)

 

Let’s keep up the good work Oscars!

 

 

History

The 12th Academy Awards is historic for being the 1st Oscar nomination for an African-American and 1st Oscar win. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel accepted the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in “Gone With the Wind” for the character – Mammy.

hattie

Hattie McDaniel

However, if David O. Selznick (Producer, film studio executive) hadn’t pulled a favor, she might not have been able to deliver her acceptance speech at all. At the time, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub (located in the Ambassador Hotel) was segregated so Ms. McDaniel wasn’t even allowed entrance. Selznick pulled another favor so she could be seated at a table at the very back of the room with her agent. To add insult to injury, Hattie McDaniel wasn’t allowed to speak her own words, the acceptance speech was written by the studio.

Despite all the prejudice, Hattie McDaniel – who at the time was one of the biggest African-American actors in the world -promoted herself for the nomination. After the release of the movie, she placed a stack of outstanding film reviews on O. Selznick’s desk and the rest is history. (Wikipedia)

 

First Best Actress Oscar 

In 2002, Halle Berry became the 1st (and to date) only African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. The Oscar was for the film “Monsters Ball”.

 

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Dorothy Dandridge – (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) is the 1st African-American actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 1954 for her performance in “Carmen Jones.” She has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was married to dancer Harold Nicholas. Check out my previous post on the Nicholas Brothers here.

Dorothy_Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Halle Berry portrayed her life in the HBO biographical film “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” in 1999.

 

Halle_Berry Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

 

 

Watching Halle’s acceptance speech again while researching this post, I burst into tears reliving her emotion as she tries to process the win and the historical significance of this moment. Looking forward to the acceptance speech of our second Best Actress Oscar Winner.

 

Halle and Denzel Oscars

Halle and Denzel Oscars

This win also marked the 1st time two African-American performers won in leading role Oscars in the same year (Denzel Washington, Training Day).

 

Image result for oscars red carpet background

 

Best Supporting Actress

First to Win: Hattie McDaniel “Gone With the Wind” 1940

Hattie McDaniel 1940 Oscars

Although known as an actress she was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.

  • Hattie McDaniel was also the oldest African-American actress to win an Academy Award (age 44).

 

  Finally – 50 Years later the 2nd Winner!

 

Winner: Supporting Actress – Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” 1990

 

  • First African-American actress to receive two acting nominations overall.

  • Second African-American actress to win Best Supporting Actress.

Whoopi oscar

Whoopi Goldberg 1990 Best Supporting Actress

 

 Winner: Supporting Actress – Jennifer Hudson “Dreamgirls” 2006

 

jennifer hudson

Jennifer Hudson 2006 Supporting Actress Oscar

  •  First African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance.

  • Youngest African-American actress to win or be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

  • Youngest African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award (age 25).

  • First African-American actress to win an Academy Award for a musical film.

Image result for oscars

 

Oldest African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award (age 83) – Ruby Dee “American Gangster” 2007.

 

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

For her life and career see my previous post here:

Ruby Dee

 

oscar red

 

  Winner: Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique “Precious” 2009

Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique

  • The second film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

Winner: Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer

“The Help” 2011

  • The third film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

Lupita oscar 1

Winner: Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o 

“12 Years a Slave” 2013

  • First black African (Kenyan) actress to be nominated.

  • First black African to win in any category.

  • Second black actor to win for a debut performance.

 

  Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

 

champagne cheers

 

We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

 

 

Happy Birthday Marlon Brando!

Today we’re celebrating Brando’s 92th birthday. His style, his “method”, his talent. Truly an original. One of the greatest actors of all time!

“Listen to Me Marlon” is the outstanding, award-winning documentary airing on cable’s Showtime about Brando in his own words:

 

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April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004

Marlon Brando, Jr. was an American actor, film director, and activist. He is hailed for bringing a gripping realism to film acting and is often cited as one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time.

The Wild One

“The Wild One”

Biography’s Documentary on Brando:

Brando is also credited with helping to popularize the Stanislavski system of acting, today more commonly referred to as method acting. A cultural icon, Brando is most famous for his Academy Award-winning performances as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront (1954) and Vito Corleone in The Godfather (1972), as well as influential performances in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), The Wild One (1953), Last Tango in Paris (1972), and Apocalypse Now (1979).

Marlon Brando initially gained acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for reprising the role of Stanley Kowalski in the 1951 film adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, a role that he had originated successfully on Broadway.

On the Waterfront

“On the Waterfront”

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“The Godfather”

The sixties were an artistic bust for Brando but ten years later he made his successful and award-winning comeback with his portrayal of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather”. The studio was opposed to his casting so he had to audition for the role. He improvised with cotton in his mouth to come up with the mumbling sound of The Don. The studio relinquished and the rest is cinema history.

“Superman”

As a result of regaining his box office gravitas with “The Godfather” and “Last Tango in Paris”, Brando became a highly paid character actor with roles in films like “Superman” which according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Brando was paid a record $3.7 million ($14 million in inflation-adjusted dollars) and 11.75% of the gross profits for 13 days’ work.

 

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Brando was ranked by the American Film Institute as the fourth greatest movie star among male movie stars whose screen debuts occurred in or before 1950. He was one of only three professional actors, along with Charlie Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe, named in 1999 by Time magazine as one of its 100 Most Important People of the Century. He died of respiratory failure on July 1, 2004, at age 80. (Wikipedia)

Pioneering Women Filmmakers – A Series – Part 3

The Contemporary Visionaries of American Film

stars

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…Women were the driving force behind Hollywood and the movies. This is the third part of a series paying homage to contemporary women filmmakers who broke the glass ceiling and wrote and directed the films that took 86 years from pioneer Lois Weber’s day to achieve. Hollywood is still run by men but these women prove that it may be a man’s world but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl. Thanks, James Brown for the lyric.

  • In 86 years, only four women have been nominated for the Best Director Oscar. Only one, Kathryn Bigelow, has won.

  • Women filmmakers nominated for the Best Director: Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties (1976), Jane Campion for The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2003), and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2009).

  • Sofia Coppola was the first American woman to ever be nominated for Best Director for the 2003 movie, “Lost in Translation.”

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Kathryn Ann Bigelow ( born November 27, 1951) is an American director, producer, and writer. Her films include the vampire Western horror film Near Dark (1987), the action crime film Point Break (1991), the controversial science fiction action thriller Strange Days (1995), the mystery thriller The Weight of Water (2000), the submarine thriller K-19: The Widowmaker (2002), the war film The Hurt Locker (2009), the action thriller war film Zero Dark Thirty (2012), and the short film Last Days of Ivory (2014). The Hurt Locker won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Picture, won the BAFTA Award for Best Film, and was nominated for the 2009 Golden Globe Award for Best Drama.

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Ann Bigelow

Bigelow’s trilogy of action films — Blue Steel, Point Break, and Strange Days —  are looked at by critics as rethinking the conventions of action cinema while exploring gendered and racial politics. In her career, Bigelow has become recognizable as both a Hollywood brand and an auteur.

Married to director James Cameron from 1989-1991, she and Cameron were both nominated for Best Director at the 2010 82nd Academy Awards, which Bigelow won. Yay, Kathryn!

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Carmina Coppola (born May 14, 1971) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and actress. In 2003, she received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for the comedy-drama Lost in Translation and became the third woman to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director. Her nomination for Best Director made her the first American woman in history to be nominated in that category, and the third woman overall, after Lina Wertmüller and Jane Campion. In 2010, with the drama Somewhere, she became the first American woman (and fourth American filmmaker) to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. Her father is the director, producer, and screenwriter Francis Ford Coppola.

She made her feature film directing debut with The Virgin Suicides (1999). It received critical acclaim upon its premiere in North America at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and was released later that year. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s brilliant and makes you think about parenting skills or the lack thereof.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

African American Women Filmmakers

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

(January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960)

Better known for her work as a novelist, Zora Neale Hurston could be, according to an essay by academic Gloria Gibson, the first African-American woman filmmaker. The film footage, which includes Children’s Games (1928), Logging (1928), and Baptism (1929), appears to be from her work as a student of anthropology under the guidance of famed anthropologist, professor, and mentor, Dr. Franz Boas of Columbia University.

A graduate of Barnard College (B.A. in anthropology in 1928) and a Guggenheim fellow, Hurston traveled back to a South similar to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida (one of the first all-black towns to be incorporated in the United States) to capture a variety of short takes of African-American life. Ethnographic in nature, the films reflect a focus of folklorists of that time period who believed that “…cultural performance and beliefs must be expeditiously collected and documented because they would soon be gone forever” (Gloria Gibson).

During a period of financial and medical difficulties, Hurston was forced to enter St. Lucie County Welfare Home, where she suffered a stroke. She died of hypertensive heart disease on January 28, 1960, and was buried at the Garden of Heavenly Rest in Fort Pierce, Florida. Sadly, her remains were in an unmarked grave until 1973 when novelist Alice Walker and literary scholar Charlotte Hunt found an unmarked grave in the general area where Hurston had been buried and decided to mark it as hers.

Our future:

Ava DuVernay – Current/future generation screenwriter/director – She would have been the first black woman nominated for best director in Oscar history, and just the fifth woman, following Lina Wertmüller for Seven Beauties, Jane Campion for The Piano, Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation, and Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker. Instead, she’s been added to the list of female directors who have seen their films get nominated while they’ve been snubbed.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay

Ava Marie DuVernay (born August 24, 1972) is an American director, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay won the Best Director Prize for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, becoming the first African-American woman to win the award. For her work in Selma, DuVernay is the first black woman director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award. With Selma, she is also the first black woman director to have their film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2015, it was announced that DuVernay would be writing, producing, and directing her next project, Queen Sugar which is an upcoming American drama television series, created, directed and executive produced by Ava DuVernay alongside Oprah Winfrey. The series is based on the novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile.The series is set to air on the Oprah Winfrey Network. 

Women filmmakers are essential to the stories and voices of Hollywood. We’ve made some progress but we still have a long way to go!

If it’s Sunday, breakout the hankies!

Cinema sign

Melodrama Sunday Movie Classics

In a previous post I talked about maybe being a little anal about the rules for Saturday and Sunday afternoon movie watching. I shared my rules for Saturday afternoon movie viewing which is B-horror and science fiction. I also shared 3 of my favorite flicks. The Blob (1958), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957) and The Tingler (1959). (hope you check ’em out)

So, for Part 2 I’m showcasing Sunday and my criteria for some great classic melodrama.

I love melodramas because they can be so over the top and cathartic (think movie therapy) and there’s no better day to indulge than on a lazy Sunday, vegging on the couch, better yet if it’s a rainy day.

According to dictionary.com:

Melodrama – Exaggerated and emotional or sentimental, sensational or sensationalized: over dramatic.

Bette Davis is my favorite Melodrama Diva! Talk about emotional and dramatic, she had those attitudes down pat. With her I find myself either talking back to my TV screen or weeping. (this is why rain helps) So, let’s find out about “The First Lady of the American Screen:

Bette Davis

Bette Davis color

 Ruth Elizabeth Davis (April 5, 1908 – October 6, 1989) known as Bette Davis

Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Ms. Davis is regarded as one of the greatest actors in cinema history. Bette Davis was the first female president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and won the Academy Award for Best Actress twice. She was also the first person to receive 10 Academy Award nominations for acting, and was the first woman to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. With more than 100 films, television and theater roles to her credit, in 1999, Davis placed second on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest female stars of all time.

Bette was known for her no-nonsense, no-holds barred personality and wasn’t afraid to take on unsympathetic character roles. In the RKO film Of Human Bondage (1934), she played such a character as Mildred, the cruel and vicious waitress.  A film adaptation of the 1915 novel of the same name by W. Somerset Maugham. This melodramatic adaptation about a crippled doctor’s destructive and compulsive passion for this coarse waitress was advertised with the tagline on one of its posters: “The Love That Lifted a Man to Paradise…and Hurled Him Back to Earth Again.”

In her 1st major, critically acclaimed part she insisted on looking hideous to depict the ravages of the disease tuberculosis on the human body. She wasn’t nominated for an Oscar but so impressed fellow artists that they insisted she be a write-in on the ballot.

Bette_davis_of_human_bondage

Bette as “Mildred” in Of Human Bondage 1934

A little bit of Mildred’s charm:

 Let’s take a look at her 10 Oscar nominations and 2 wins:

  • 1935: Won for Dangerous, as a self-destructive, alcoholic actress (really a make-up for not winning Of Human Bondage)

 

  • 1938: Won for Jezebel, as a self absorbed 1850’s southern belle whose insistence on wearing a red-dress to a formal affair (white = chaste) brings scandal and disapproval. Her man “Pres” Henry Fonda was too through with her.

 

  • 1939: Nominated for Dark Victory, as Judith Traherne, an impetuous, terminally ill Long Island socialite. (yes that’s Bette with a drunken Ronald Reagan) Big time tear-jerker! – Bette’s favorite!  

 

  • 1940: Nominated for The Letter, as a low-down, adulterous murderer who has absolutely no remorse for blowing her lover away. However, karma is a bitch.

 

  • 1941: Nominated for The Little Foxes, as Southern aristocrat Regina Giddens – that girl put the cold in cold-blooded.  

 

  •  1942: Nominated for Now, Voyager, as Charlotte Vale – a dowdy, overweight, spinster, abused by her mother but fights back and achieves a starling transformation in body and spirit. An incredible performance! My absolute favorite Bette Davis role! 

Charlotte on the edge of a well deserved nervous breakdown:

 

Charlotte’s journey:

 

  • 1944: Nominated for Mr. Skeffington, as Fanny Skeffington, a woman so conceited that she tries to steal her daughter’s boyfriend, loses her looks after an illness but still has the nerve to treat her husband like dirt and still believe she can have any man – no way. In the end she learns the hard way that “a woman is beautiful when she’s loved and only then.” (too bad it’s after her husband goes blind in a concentration camp)

 

  • 1950: Nominated for All About Eve, as Margo Channing  an insecure Broadway star challenged by the younger, conniving Eve – “Fasten your seat-belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”  It was selected in 1990 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was among the first 50 films to be registered.

  • 1952: Nominated for The Star, as Maggie, a washed-up actress trying to revive her career. Notably, at this time in Bette Davis’ career, she was struggling for roles despite her body of work. Bette’s ego was blamed.

 

  • 1962: Nominated for What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, as the demented Baby Jane Hudson who tortures and terrorizes her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford)  Much like their real life rivalry. This role renewed her success and paved the way for other deranged characters in such films as: Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte (1964) and The Nanny (1965)

 ♦♦♦♦

Bette continued to perform in film and on television in the 70’s and 80’s. In 1983 at the age of 75 she had a mastectomy as a result of breast cancer. Nine days later she suffered a stroke. Despite her failing health she continued to work until her death in 1989.

This is an in-depth retrospect of “The First Lady of the American Screen”

Enjoy! Don’t forget to bring your hankie.

 

African-American Oscar History Pt. 2

Last year’s 86th Academy Awards marked a historic night for black filmmakers at the Oscars. It’s the first time a black film – 12 Years a Slave — won best picture; the Academy’s most prestigious award. John Ridley won for Best Adapted Screenplay and Steve McQueen won as Producer.

But, as the 1959 Grammy Award winning vocalist Dinah Washington sang: “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

I’m recognizing and celebrating the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood; especially considering the lack of African-American nominations for this year’s 87th Academy Awards.

 

 Oscars 2015: No black actors or female screenwriters, directors or cinematographers were nominated.

 

History

The 12th Academy Awards is historic for being the 1st Oscar nomination for an African-American and 1st Oscar win. Hattie McDaniel accepted her award in 1940 as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “Gone With the Wind” as the character – Mammy.

hattie

Hattie McDaniel

 

However, if David O. Selznick (Producer, film studio executive) hadn’t pulled a favor, she might not have been able to deliver her acceptance speech at all. At the time, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub (located in the Ambassador Hotel) was segregated so Ms. McDaniel wasn’t even allowed entrance. Selznick pulled another favor so she could be seated at a table at the very back of the room with her agent. To add insult to injury, Hattie McDaniel wasn’t allowed to speak her own words, the acceptance speech was written by the studio.

Despite all the prejudice, Hattie McDaniel – who at the time was one of the biggest African-American actors in the world -promoted herself for the nomination. After the release of the movie, she placed a stack of outstanding film reviews on O. Selznick’s desk and the rest is history.

 

First Best Actress Oscar 

In 2002, Halle Berry became the 1st (and to date) only African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. The Oscar was for the film “Monsters Ball”.

 

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Dorothy Dandridge – (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) is the 1st African-American actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 1954 for her performance in “Carmen Jones.” She has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was married to dancer Harold Nicholas. Check out my previous post on the Nicholas Brothers here.

Dorothy_Dandridge

Dorothy Dandridge

Halle Berry portrayed her life in the HBO biographical film “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” in 1999.

Halle_Berry Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

 

Watching Halle’s acceptance speech again while researching this post, I burst into tears reliving her emotion as she tries to process the win and the historical significance of this moment. Looking forward to the acceptance speech of our second Best Actress Oscar Winner.

 

Halle and Denzel Oscars

Halle and Denzel Oscars

This win also marked the 1st time two African-American performers won in leading role Oscars in the same year (Denzel Washington, Training Day).

 

 

oscars 3

Best Supporting Actress

1st to Win: Hattie McDaniel “Gone With the Wind” 1940

Hattie McDaniel 1940 Oscars

Although known as an actress she was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.

  • Hattie McDaniel was also the oldest African-American actress to win an Academy Award (age 44).

  Finally – 50 Years later the 2nd Winner!

Winner: Supporting Actress – Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” 1990

  • First African-American actress to receive two acting nominations overall.

  • Second African-American actress to win Best Supporting Actress.

Whoopi oscar

Whoopi Goldberg 1990 Best Supporting Actress

 Winner: Supporting Actress – Jennifer Hudson “Dreamgirls” 2006

jennifer hudson

Jennifer Hudson 2006 Oscar

  •  First African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance.

  • Youngest African-American actress to win or be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

  • Youngest African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award (age 25).

  • First African-American actress to win an Academy Award for a musical film.

Oscar

Oldest African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award (age 83) – Ruby Dee “American Gangster” 2007.

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee

For her life and career see my previous post here: Ruby Dee

 

oscar red

Winner: Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique “Precious” 2009

Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique

  • Second film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

Winner: Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer  “The Help” 2011

  • Third film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

Lupita oscar 1

Winner: Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o  “12 Years a Slave” 2013

  • First black African (Kenyan) actress to be nominated.

  • First black African to win in any category.

  • Second black actor to win for a debut performance.

 

  Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

 

champagne cheers

 

We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

 

 

African-American Oscar History Pt. 1

In honor of Black History Month

Celebrating the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood; especially in light of the lack of African-American nominations for this year’s 87th Academy Awards.

 

oscars logo

 

Oscars 2015: No black actors or female screenwriters, directors or cinematographers were nominated.

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Our First Best Actor

In 1958, Sidney Poiter became the first black actor to be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Actor category for “The Defiant Ones.” In 1963, he went on to make history and become the first to win the Oscar for Best Actor in “Lillies of the Field.” I saw the film as a kid and although it was quite popular never expected him to take home the statue.

However, Hollywood did love him. I believe they saw him as non-threatening due to his mild-mannered characterizations. He was quoted as saying he had concerns that he would be seen as a token and never given any substantial roles. Well, his Detective Virgil Tibbs in the film “In the Heat of the Night” sure put that fear to bed. Slapping a white man in racist Mississippi in 1967 was a bold and hand clapping moment in the theater. Poitier was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor and the film won five Academy Awards, including the 1967 award for Best Picture.

 

Sidney Poiter

Sidney Poiter 1963 Oscar for Best Actor

 

Oscar Accomplishments:

  • First African-American nominated for Best Actor award

  • First black male to win an Oscar

  • First black actor to win Best Actor

  • First to receive two acting nominations (Best Actor)

  • Youngest black actor to win Best Actor (37)

 

 

It took 36 years for another win in the Best Actor category, but finally Denzel Washington was recognized by the Academy for his portrayal of Alonso Harris in “Training Day” making him the second black actor to win the Oscar.

1999 also marked the first time two African-American performers won leading role Oscars in the same year. (Halle Berry, “Monster’s Ball“)

 

Denzel and Halle

Denzel Washington and Halle Berry “Best Actors.”

Denzel Washington has the most nominations for an African-American Actor: Best Actor (4 nominations) and Best Supporting Actor (2 nominations).

 

Jamie Foxx 2004 Oscar Best Actor

Jamie Foxx 2004 Oscar Best Actor

Jamie Foxx was awarded the 2004 Oscar for Best Actor as Ray Charles in the biopic “Ray”.  That same year, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the action film Collateral making him the first African-American actor to receive two acting nominations in the same year.

 

forest whitaker oscar

Forest Whitaker Best Actor 2006

Forest Whitaker is the fourth and most recent African-American male to win the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film “The Last King of Scotland.”

 

oscars 3

Best Supporting Actor

First Nominated:  Rupert Crosse“The Reivers” 1969

First to Win: Louis Gossett, Jr – “An Officer and a Gentleman” 1982

Winner: Supporting Actor – Denzel Washington “Glory” 1989

Youngest African-American male actor to win an Academy Award (age 29) – Cuba Gooding, Jr. “Jerry Maguire” 1996

Oldest African-American actor to win an Academy Award (age 67) – Morgan Freeman “Million Dollar Baby” 2004

 

 

 Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

Part two in this series will focus on the achievements of African-American Women in film.