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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

If You Are A Black Actress and Want An Oscar, Play A Maid

Hattie McDaniel
Prior to Sunday's Academy Awards, only 13 black actors had won in the Oscars’ 84-year history. Only Halle Berry had been chosen best actress, for playing a wounded soul who finds solace in the arms of a white man in “Monster’s Ball.”  The best supporting actress victory of Octavia Spencer, who played another maid in “The Help,” shows that maid roles are responsible for two of the six Oscars won by black actresses.

In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Oscar, for a supporting role as a maid called Mammy in the Dixie-glorifying “Gone With the Wind.” Since then, a high percentage of black Oscar nominees and winners have played characters such as slaves, African despots, welfare recipients, dysfunctional mothers, drug-addicted musicians or drug-dealing cops.

Of the 5,765 people who vote on the Oscars, nearly 94 percent are white and 77 percent are male, according to a new Los Angeles Times study. The median voter age is 62.  (Associated Press, Black News, 2/28/2012)
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