One of the biggest events that highlights and celebrates the creative artistry of Hollywood is the Academy Awards and the 82nd Oscar ceremony is all set for Sunday, March 7th. Now I have to admit I haven't been much of an awards viewer over the last several years, in fact I really couldn't tell you the last time I sat down in front of a television and watched an awards show of any kind from beginning to end...and that very well may be the case for this year's Oscar with the EXCEPTION of a few noted categories.
So before writing this blog, I did a little research, and thanks to Wikipedia I discovered quite an impressive list of Black Academy Award winners and nominees, many of which I didn't realized were included in as many categories. Let me begin with the grand-daddy of the Oscars...BEST PICTURE- back in 1985 the first Black person to be nominated for the category...Quincy Jones/Producer for the movie, "The Color Purple...this year BOTH Lee Daniels and Broderick Johnson represents the first time 2 Black producers are nominated for Best Picture for the films "Precious" and "The Blind Side" respectively.
BEST DIRECTOR...in 1991 John Singleton was the first person of color to be nominated and the youngest person ever at age 23 for his film, "Boyz n The Hood." Now fast forward to 2009 and the honor goes to Lee Daniels- the 2nd Black person to earn a Best Director nomination...BEST ACTOR/LEADING ROLE... started in 1958 with Sidney Poitier, the first Black actor to be nominated for best actor for "The Defiant Ones," and the first to win an Academy Award in 1963 for "Lilies of The Field."...then came 2001 and Denzel Washington won the Oscar for "Training Day"...the honor in 2004 was bestowed to Jamie Foxx for his incredible rendition of Ray Charles in the film "Ray"..Jamie recieved 2 acting nominations in the same year and was the youngest Black actor to win at age 34, and two years later Forest Whitaker was a winner for the movie "The Last King of Scotland and Will Smith was also a nominee for the film "Pursuit of Happiness."
BEST ACTRESS/LEADING ROLE...in 1954 the beautiful Dorothy Danridge made history as the first Black actress to be nominated for "Carmen Jones," but it wasn't until 2001 that Halle Berry(who irconically portryed Dorothy in movie on her life story) was the first and only Black actress to win Oscar gold...now in 2009 nominee Gabourey/Gabby Sidibe is the young Black actress to nominated for her powerful role as Claireece 'Precious' Jones in the fim, "Precious."....BEST ACTOR/SUPPORTING ROLE....Lee Gossett, Jr. won the big Oscar prize in "An Officer and A Gentlemen, and the first Black actor to win in this category...1989 Denzel Washington won the honor for "Glory...1996- it was Cuba Gooding, Jr., the youngest Black actor to win at age 29 for "Jerry Maquire," and 2004 was the last year a Black actor won and Morgan Freeman did it for(as the oldest actor-age 67) "Million Dollar Baby."
And lastly there's BEST ACTRESS/SUPPORTING ROLE...and many of us weren't likely born when Hattie McDaniel won the category in 1939 for "Gone With The Wind" as the first Black person(male or female) to win an Oscar. This didn't happen again until nearly 50 years later...1990 when Whoopi Goldberg claimed the prize for her role in "Ghost." Another 16-years later and Jennifer Hudson was the winner and the first and only Black actor male or female to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance for "Dreamgirls." And other nominations worthy of note...2008 Taraji P. Henson for her role in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and 2009 with Mo'Nique(and she could take home the prize March 7, 2010) for her incredible performance in "Precious." What a history lesson to pass along, hoping this will inspire and encourage the NEXT talented/acting generation(especially of color) to keep reaching for the 'stars!"
I'VE NEVER WATCHED THE OSCARS PROBABLY BECAUSE I'M NOT A MOVIE FAN...BUT I CERTAINLY CAN APPRECIATE ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS WE AS BLACK PEOPLE HAVE MADE IN THIS AREA. WOW...TALKING ABOUT PRAYING; PATIENCE; AND PERSERVANCE...MY PEOPLE HAVE IT!
Inspired By Nature
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