News The First African-Americans to Ever Win Oscar Awards By Alexandra Whittaker Updated on March 4, 2018 @ 09:00AM Pin Share Tweet Email 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. Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images 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. John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images 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. How to Watch the 2018 Oscars Online John D. Kisch/Separate Cinema Ar/Getty Images 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. Get an up-close look at the best red-carpet fashion for LESS. Subscribe to InStyle now and save big during our limited-time Award Season Sale! The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images 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.