Motion Picture Academy to replace Hattie McDaniel’s lost Oscar plaque

Written by on September 27, 2023

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced it will replace a lost Oscar award that was presented to the first Oscar-winning Black performer, Hattie McDaniel.

In 1939, when she won for her performance in Gone with the Wind, the Best Supporting category winner was presented with a plaque, not the traditional Oscar statue. The star had left her award to Howard University upon her death in 1952, and it was displayed for over a decade but was subsequently lost.

Now, the Academy will be presenting a new version of the plaque to the Howard University Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, in a ceremony titled “Hattie’s Come Home” at the institution’s Ira Aldridge Theater on October 1.

In a statement, Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Academy CEO Bill Kramer noted, “Hattie McDaniel was a groundbreaking artist who changed the course of cinema and impacted generations of performers who followed her,” saying they were thrilled to present a replacement to the school.

They added, “This momentous occasion will celebrate Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable craft and historic win.”

Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Boseman College of Fine Arts, expressed when she was a student at Howard’s Department of Drama, she “would often sit and gaze in wonder” at the award McDaniel bequeathed to the school.

“I am overjoyed that this Academy Award is returning to what is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University,” she added. “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!”

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