Here’s something worth noting

(This whole post h/t to Dorman.)

Louis Gossett, Jr., died today, at the age of 87.

Something interesting about Mr Gossett is that when he won his Oscar for Supporting Actor for An Officer and a Gentleman, he was only the third African-American person to win an acting Oscar of any kind. (Edit: a previous version of this post incorrectly stated he was only the 3rd Black winner of any Oscar at all, and that’s not true; Isaac Hayes won Best Song in 1973.)

Most famously, Hattie MacDaniel won for Supporting Actress in 1939 for Gone With the Wind. A Black person would get a statue again until Sidney Poitier won Actor for Lilies of the Field in 1963 (which was his second nomination in the category; he’d been there in 1958 for The Defiant Ones.

And the next Oscar after that was 19 years later and Mr Gossett.

There’s a lot at the aforementioned link, but your timeline of Actor category wins is:

No. Year Category Actor Film
1 1939 Supporting Actress Hattie McDaniel Gone with the Wind
2 1963 Actor Sidney Poitier Lilies of the Field
3 1982 Supporting Actor Louis Gossett, Jr. An Officer and a Gentleman
4 1989 Supporting Actor Denzel Washington Glory
5 1990 Supporting Actress Whoopie Goldberg Ghost
6 1996 Supporting Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. Jerry Maguire
7 2001 Actor Denzel Washington Training Day
8 2001 Actress Halle Berry Monster’s Ball
9 2004 Supporting Actor Morgan Freeman Million Dollar Baby
10 2004 Actor Jamie Fox Ray
11 2006 Supporting Actress Jennifer Hudson Dreamgirls
12 2006 Actor Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland
13 2009 Supporting Actress Mo’Nique Precious
14 2011 Supporting Actress Octavia Spenser The Help
15 2013 Supporting Actress Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave
16 2016 Supporting Actress Viola Davis Fences
17 2016 Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali Moonlight
18 2018 Supporting Actress Regina King If Beale Street Could Talk
19 2018 Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali Green Book
20 2020 Supporting Actor Daniel Kaluuya Judas & The Black Messiah
21 2021 Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose West Side Story
22 2021 Actor Will Smith King Richard
23 2023 Supporting Actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph The Holdovers

I don’t watch every year, but I absolutely remember 2001 with crystal clarity. Denzel and Halle, on stage together, was electric.

Additionally, in terms of the biggie awards, Steve McQueen won Picture for 12 Years a Slave. No African American has ever won Director despite nominations by John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), Lee Daniels (Precious), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Jordan Peele (Get Out), and Spike Lee (BlacKKKlansman).

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