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Day 26: Looking back on Hollywood’s first black Oscar winners

28 Days of Black History

 

 

The iconic Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964. Poitier had refused to play stereotypical roles related to his race. He won this award for his role of Homer Smith in “Lilies of the Field.”

 

 

 

Louis Gossett Jr. was the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for this role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

 

 

Denzel Washington earned his first Oscar in 1990 for Best Supporting Actor for playing Pvt. Trip in “Glory.” He was the first black actor to receive two Best Supporting Actor nominations, having also been nominated in 1987 for “Cry Freedom.”

 

 

 

 

Halle Berry, in an emotional acceptance speech at the 2002 Oscars, made history as the first black actress to win Best Actress. She won for playing Leticia Musgrove in “Monster’s Ball.”

 

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