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Photo Illustration by Karly Herrera

The 29 Black Oscar Winners

Although the reality of the situation is infuriating, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy does have a silver lining: The reactions have been top-notch. Saturday Night Live, for example, lampooned the industry’s one-sided favoritism in one of the show's funniest skits in recent memory; HBO's Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, meanwhile, put together a razor-sharp video package analyzing Hollywood’s "whitewashing" epidemic. And on the more serious side, Variety's latest cover story is an exhaustive oral history of the small group of black actors and filmmakers who've won Academy Awards.

Here on, the conversation around diversity has been ongoing since well before the Academy's nominations announcement in early January. Before the masses started rightfully lambasting the Academy for snubbing Straight Outta Compton, we made the case for why each of its three leads (Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, O'Shea Jackson, Jr.) deserved Best Actor recognition. Back when Ryan Coogler's Creed opened in late November, we praised its awards season clout and singled out co-star Tessa Thompson's underrated performance as the film's heart and soul. Earlier this week, the news about Ava DuVernay's upcoming slate of science fiction projects led us to address genre cinema’s need for fresh, non-white-male voices. And at the height of the #OscarsSoWhite backlash, we provided a list of upcoming 2016 movies that could potentially right the Academy’s wrongs come 2017.

Will the recent uproar around this issue actually lead to any substantial changes in Hollywood? Only time will tell, but if history is any indication, whatever small changes do happen won't be tangible right away—it's going to be a long haul. But please believe, will continue to beat the drum and celebrate diversity in storytelling. We've put together a slideshow, which you'll find above, celebrating the 29 black men and women who've defied the odds and won Academy Awards over the last 80 years. Here's the full list:

1939: Hattie McDaniel, Gone with the Wind (Best Supporting Actress)

1963: Sidney Poitier, Lilies of the Field (Best Actor)

1971; Isaac Hayes, Shaft (Best Original Song, "Theme from Shaft")

1982: Louis Gossett, Jr., An Officer and a Gentleman (Best Supporting Actor)

1983: Irene Cara, Flashdance (Best Original Song, "Flashdance… What a Feeling")

1984: Prince, Purple Rain (Best Original Score)

1984: Stevie Wonder, The Woman in Red (Best Original Song, "I Just Called to Say I Love You")

1985: Lionel Richie, White Nights (Best Original Song, "Say You, Say Me")

1986: Herbie Hancock, Round Midnight (Best Original Score)

1989: Denzel Washington, Glory (Best Supporting Actor)

1990: Whoopi Goldberg, Ghost (Best Supporting Actress)

1990: Russell Williams, Dances With Wolves (Best Sound Mixing)

1996: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Jerry Maguire (Best Supporting Actor)

2001: Denzel Washington, Training Day (Best Actor)

2001: Halle Berry, Monster's Ball (Best Actress)

2004: Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby (Best Supporting Actor)

2004: Jamie Foxx, Ray (Best Actor)

2005: Three 6 Mafia, Hustle & Flow (Best Original Song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp")

2006: Willie D. Burton, Dreamgirls (Best Sound Mixing)

2006: Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland (Best Actor)

2006: Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls (Best Supporting Actress)

2009: Roger Ross Williams, Music By Prudence (Best Documentary Short Subject)

2009: Geoffrey Fletcher, Precious (Best Adapted Screenplay)

2009: Mo'Nique, Precious (Best Supporting Actress)

2011: Octavia Spencer, The Help (Best Supporting Actress)

2012: T.J. Martin, co-director, Undefeated (Best Documentary Feature)

2013: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave (Best Supporting Actress)

2013: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Best Adapted Screenplay)

2013: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Best Picture)

2014: Common and John Legend, Selma (Best Original Song, "Glory")



What you need to know today


Today's Tribeca selection for #WomensHistoryMonth is another Nora Ephron Prize winner, this time from an Italian director who we cannot wait to see expand her cinematic vision in more and more projects. In Laura Bispuri's bold, soulful debut SWORN VIRGIN (2015), the chameleonic Alba Rohrwacher stuns as an Albanian woman struggling with a shifting sense of gender after living as a man for fourteen years, in accordance with an old Kanun law that allows women to change their gender and escape their destiny as wife and servant, albeit at an ultimate personal price. Bispuri's deeply meditative drama deserves a much larger audience. Find a way to experience it.


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