THE ACADEMY AND ACADEMY MUSEUM OF MOTION PICTURES TO PRESENT HOWARD UNIVERSITY A REPLACEMENT OF HATTIE MCDANIEL’S BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS ACADEMY AWARD®
Hattie McDaniel was the First Black Person to Be
Nominated for and Win an Academy Award
Howard University to Host “Hattie’s Come Home” Ceremony
on October 1
Los Angeles, CA, September 26, 2023—The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures announced today the Academy will gift to the Howard University Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts a replacement of actor Hattie McDaniel’s Best Supporting Actress Academy Award®. Howard University will host a ceremony titled “Hattie’s Come Home” at its Ira Aldridge Theater in Washington, D.C., on October 1, 2023.
The ceremony will celebrate the life and legacy of McDaniel, her historic Academy Award win, and reunite her Academy Award with Howard University as she originally intended. The event will include opening remarks by Phylicia Rashad, Dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University, the performance of a medley of songs from current students and faculty of the College, and an excerpt of “Boulevard of Bold Dreams,” a play by LaDarrion Williams. Representatives of the Academy and the Academy Museum will be at the ceremony, including Jacqueline Stewart, Ph.D., Director and President of the Academy Museum, and Executive Vice President of Oscars Strategy Teni Melidonian, who will present the plaque to the university. Stewart will host a moderated conversation about McDaniel’s career with Greg Carr, Ph.D., Howard University Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies; Rhea Combs, Ph.D., Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery; Kevin John Goff, filmmaker, actor and Hattie McDaniel’s great-grandnephew; Khalid Long, Ph.D., Howard University Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, author, director and dramaturg; and Rashad. The plaque’s new home will be in the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
“Hattie McDaniel was a groundbreaking artist who changed the course of cinema and impacted generations of performers who followed her. We are thrilled to present a replacement of Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award to Howard University,” said Stewart and Academy CEO Bill Kramer. “This momentous occasion will celebrate Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable craft and historic win.”
“When I was a student in the College of Fine Arts at Howard University, in what was then called the Department of Drama, I would often sit and gaze in wonder at the Academy Award that had been presented to Ms. Hattie McDaniel, which she had gifted to the College of Fine Arts,” said Rashad. “I am overjoyed that this Academy Award is returning to what is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University. This immense piece of history will be back in the College of Fine Arts for our students to draw inspiration from. Ms. Hattie is coming home!”
The Academy Museum has honored and contextualized McDaniel’s legacy in both the Academy Awards History Gallery and its temporary exhibition Regeneration: Black Cinema 1898-1971. A performer on stage, radio and screen, McDaniel appeared in some 300 films throughout her career. In 1940, McDaniel made history as the first Black person to be nominated for and to win a competitive Academy Award for her supporting performance as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind (1939). At the 12th Academy Awards ceremony at the segregated Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, McDaniel and her guest were seated separately from the film’s other nominees.
McDaniel received not a statuette but a plaque, as was customary for supporting performance winners from 1936 to 1942. Though its whereabouts today are unknown, McDaniel’s award stands out in Academy history; it would be 51 years before another Black woman would win an acting Oscar ®. McDaniel bequeathed her Academy Award to Howard University upon her death in 1952. The award was displayed at the university’s drama department until the late 1960s.
McDaniel’s acceptance speech can currently be viewed in full in the museum’s Academy Awards History Gallery, and, notably, her win is recognized in the Oscars Gallery of statuettes, but through a vitrine that stands empty. Her acceptance speech, as recorded for newsreel cameras at the time, is noted below:
“Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science[s], fellow members of the motion picture industry and honored guests. This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of the awards for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything I may be able to do in the future. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry. My heart is too full to tell you just how I feel. And may I say thank you and God bless you.”
Image Credits: Actor Hattie McDaniel c. 1940 with her original Academy Award plaque for Actress in a Supporting Role for Gone with the Wind (1939). Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images; Reproduction of the original plaque of Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award for Actress in a Supporting Role for Gone with the Wind (1939). Gift from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to Howard University. Photo by Owen Kolasinski/© Academy Museum Foundation.
ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is home to a global membership of more than 10,500 of the most accomplished film industry artists and leaders. The Academy recognizes and celebrates all aspects of the arts and sciences of moviemaking through renowned awards for cinematic achievement, including the Oscars®. With the world’s largest film museum and collection, the Academy preserves our cinematic history and presents honest and powerful programs about cinema’s past, present, and future. Across all initiatives, the Academy connects global audiences – its members, the film industry, and film fans – through their shared passion for making and watching films.
ABOUT THE ACADEMY MUSEUM
The Academy Museum is the largest museum in the United States devoted to the arts, sciences, and artists of moviemaking. The museum advances the understanding, celebration, and preservation of cinema through inclusive and accessible exhibitions, screenings, programs, initiatives, and collections. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, the museum’s LEED Gold certified campus contains the restored and revitalized historic Saban Building—formerly known as the May Company building (1939)—and a soaring spherical addition. Together, these buildings contain 50,000 square feet of exhibition spaces, two state-of-the-art theaters — the David Geffen Theater and Ted Mann Theater — the Shirley Temple Education Studio, and beautiful public spaces that are free and open to the public. These include: The Walt Disney Company Piazza and the Sidney Poitier Grand Lobby, which houses the Spielberg Family Gallery, Academy Museum Store, and Fanny’s restaurant and café. The Academy Museum exhibition galleries and store are open six days a week, from 10am to 6pm and are closed on Tuesdays and Christmas Day.
ABOUT HOWARD UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 14 schools and colleges. Students pursue more than 140 programs of study leading to undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced two Schwarzman Scholars, four Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 12 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 165 Fulbright recipients. Howard also produces more on-campus African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit www.howard.edu.