The Oscars Decoded: 12 Black Actors Who Won & Their Career Impact

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HATTIE MCDANIEL

At the age of 47, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win the coveted Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939). It was a role that she was paid just $1,000 a week during the film’s six-month production. Born to perform, McDaniel went on to have a successful career as an actress that was financially stable. In 1942, she purchased an impressive two-story, 17-room Hollywood mansion. She was known for her yearly parties. In her lifetime, McDaniel was cast in over 300 films but given screen credit in about 80, most of which were roles as domestics. When criticized by the NAACP for playing such roles she said, "I could either get paid $100 a month as a real maid or $750 a week playing one in the movies!" Despite evidence that McDaniel had made a good living as a performer, her final estate was estimated at only $10,000.

HATTIE MCDANIEL

At the age of 47, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win…

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