Few Academy Award fans can forget the historic moment when Halle Berry took home the best actress Oscar, the first-ever given to an African-American woman, for her portrayal of Leticia Musgrove in Monster's Ball. It took place in 2002 and went down in history for its ground-breaking significance.
Since then Berry has been among an elite group of the first black performers to win an Oscar in the acting categories. She holds the distinction of being the first African-American Oscar winner for best actress. As for the first-ever African American Oscar winners for best supporting actress, best supporting actor, and best actor? Read on to find out.
Hattie McDaniel, Best Supporting Actress (1940)
McDaniel is the first black performer to win an Academy Award period. She earned the award through her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939). She passed away in 1952.
Sidney Poitier, Best Actor (1964)
For his role in Lilies of the Field (1963), Poitier won the Academy Award for best actor, becoming the first African-American man to take home the distinction.
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Louis Gossett Jr., Best Supporting Actor (1982)
After starring as drill sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), Gossett Jr. won the award for best supporting actor and become the first African-American man to win for that category. He was the second-ever African-American man to win an Oscar for acting, and the third-ever to win an Oscar overall.