There’s only been one non-acting black female Oscar winner — ‘Mudbound’ can change that

Everyone knows Halle Berry is still the only black Best Actress winner, but there’s a more alarming stat in Oscar history: Only one black woman has won a non-acting Oscar. That was Irene Cara, who co-wrote Best Original Song winner “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from “Flashdance” (1983). She could finally be joined by three more this year — two at once — and all for the same film: “Mudbound.”

Of “Mudbound”’s four nominations, three of the nominees are black women: director/co-writer Dee Rees in Best Adapted Screenplay, and “Mighty River” songwriters Taura Stinson and Mary J. Blige, who’s also up for Best Supporting Actress. (Virgil Williams co-wrote the script and Raphael Saddiq also co-wrote the Best Original Song nominee.)

Rees and Blige have already made Oscar history, with the former being the first black woman nominated in Best Adapted Screenplay and the latter being the first black woman to receive multiple nominations in a single year. The singer-turned-actress is also the first person to be contending for acting and songwriting in the same year.

SEE Black Girl Magic in full effect with 2018 Oscar nominations as Mary J. Blige, Dee Rees and Octavia Spencer make history

Rees, Blige and Stinson join just 13 other black women as Oscar nominees in non-acting categories. Most of them have come this century — very slow progress but still encouraging as the industry and academy make strides to be more inclusive in all aspects of filmmaking. (Best Supporting Actress, where Blige is in fourth place in our combined odds, is the most fruitful category for black women, with seven winners, including five since 2000.) The 13 are:

1. Suzanne de Passe: Best Original Screenplay for “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972)
2. Irene Cara: Best Original Song for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from “Flashdance” (1983) (winner)
3. Yvonne Smith: Best Documentary Feature for “Adam Clayton Powell” (1989)
4. Ruth E. Carter: Best Costume Design for “Malcolm X” (1992) and “Amistad” (1997)
5. Janet Jackson: Best Original Song for “Again” from “Poetic Justice” (1993)
6. Dianne Houston: Best Live Action Short Film for “Tuesday Morning Ride” (1995)
7. Karolyn Ali: Best Documentary Feature for “Tupac: Resurrection” (2003)
8. Sharen Davis: Best Costume Design for “Ray” (2004) and “Dreamgirls” (2006)
9. Siedah Garrett: Best Original Song for “Love You I Do” from “Dreamgirls” and “Real in Rio” from “Rio” (2011)
10. Oprah Winfrey: Best Picture for “Selma” (2014)
11. Kimberly Steward: Best Picture for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016)
12. Ava DuVernay: Best Documentary Feature for “13th” (2016)
13. Joi McMillon: Best Editing for “Moonlight” (2016)

“Mudbound” is currently in second place in Best Adapted Screenplay behind “Call Me by Your Name,” while “Mighty River” is in third behind “Remember Me” from “Coco” and “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman.”

PREDICT the Oscar winners now; change them until March 4

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our movie forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions


More News from GoldDerby