Hattie McDaniel made history as the first Black to win an Academy Award. Her Oscar trophy, which has been missing since the late 1960s, will be replaced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The Academy is gifting the replacement trophy to Howard University, where the original was housed since McDaniel died from breast cancer at the age of 59 in 1952, Deadline reported.
According to a news release, the Academy will give the trophy to Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts during a ceremony titled “Hattie’s Come Home” in Washington D.C. on Oct. 1.
In a joint statement, Jacqueline Stewart, director and president of the Academy Museum, and Academy CEO Bill Kramer called McDaniel “a groundbreaking artist who changed the course of cinema and impacted generations of performers who followed her.”
“We are thrilled to present a replacement of Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award to Howard University,” Stewart and Kramer said in their statement. “This momentous occasion will celebrate Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable craft and historic win.”
McDaniel, who won the Best Supporting Actress award, received a plaque, and not a statuette, which was the norm for supporting actors and actresses from 1936 to 1942, Deadline reported. McDaniel rose from a segregated table on the far side of the room at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel to make an emotional acceptance speech.
“I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of the awards for your kindness,” McDaniel said. “It has made me feel very, very humble, and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything that I may be able to do in the future.
“I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion-picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel. And may I say thank you and God bless you.”
Another Black woman would not win an Oscar until 1991, when Whoopi Goldberg won a Best Supporting Actress statuette for her role as Oda Mae Brown in “Ghost.”
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