In the 89-year history of the Oscars, there have been 441 nominations for the Best Actress award. Of these, only 11 have gone to black women, with none of them reaping more than one bid. The only black woman to win Best Actress was Halle Berry in 2001 for “Monster’s Ball.”
And it took till this year and the bid by Ruth Negga (“Loving”) for black women to even register in the double digits in this category. Compare that to the 21 bids for black men in Best Actor, which has had four winners: Sidney Poitier (“Lilies of the Field,” 1963); Denzel Washington (“Training Day,” 2001); Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” 2004); and Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” 2006).
The nine black women to contend in this category and lose were:
1954: Dorothy Dandridge (“Carmen Jones”) lost to Grace Kelly (“The Country Girl”);
1972: Diana Ross (“Lady Sings the Blues”) lost to Liza Minelli (“Cabaret”);
1972: Cicely Tyson (“Sounder”) lost to Liza Minnelli (“Cabaret”);
1974: Diahann Carroll (“Claudine” ) lost to Ellen Burstyn (“Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”;
1985: Whoopi Goldberg (“The Color Purple”) lost to Geraldine Page (“The Trip to Bountiful”);
1993: Angela Bassett (“What’s Love Got to Do with It”) lost to Holly Hunter (“The Piano”);
2009: Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) lost to Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side”);
2011: Viola Davis (“The Help” ) lost to Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”); and
2012: Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild” ) lost to Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”).
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