Wrapping Up Black History Month at The Academy Awards!

February 28, 2012
 Plaza College
# 202, 74-09 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372
www.plazacollege.edu    (718) 779-1430
 *** Press Release ***
At the 2012 Academy Awards, Octavia Spencer received an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” in the highly acclaimed film The Help.
Spencer has been picking up awards left and right for her turn in The Help, so this award came as no surprise. Still, the actress – only the fifth African American in history to win a supporting actress Oscar, seemed genuinely taken back. 
On February 29th, 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actor to win an Academy Award. The Oscar, for Best Supporting Actress, was for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone With The Wind. On the night she won, McDaniel and her escort were seated at  a segregated table for two, away from her fellow Gone With The Wind cast members. Two months prior to the Oscar’s, McDaniel wasn’t allowed to attend the premier of Gone With The Windin Atlanta, GA due to Georgia’s segregationist laws. Winning an Oscar at that time was an extraordinary achievement.
Whoopi Goldberg was the second African-American to win a Best Supporting Oscar, 38 years after McDaniel in 1990. 
In 2001, Halle Berry became the first African-American female to win the Best Actress Oscar. She won for her role as Leticia Musgrove in Monster’s Ball. The 2001 Oscar’s was also the first time two African-Americans took home both Best Acting honors, with Denzel Washington taking home Best Actor for his role in Training Day.
With Black History Month coming to an end, celebrating the achievements of so many African-American actors and actresses and the strides they’ve taken in the entertainment industry seems fitting, especially with an Oscar award!

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