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Black women and the Oscar race

African Americans Ethel Waters, Hattie McDaniel and Dorothy Dandridge made history with their Academy Award nominations and in one instance, a win.

January 31, 2011|By Susan King, Los Angeles Times
  • Hattie McDaniel won the supporting actress Oscar for "Gone With the Wind."
Hattie McDaniel won the supporting actress Oscar for "Gone With the… (Unknown, ACP Santa Monica )

Ethel Waters

The famed blues, jazz and gospel vocalist (1896-1977) made her movie debut in the 1929 musical "On With the Show!" She became the second African American to earn an Oscar nomination, for her supporting role in the 1949 drama "Pinky."

Hattie McDaniel

The first African American (1895-1952) to win an Academy Award, for her supporting role as Mammy in 1939's "Gone with the Wind." When the NAACP complained in the 1940s about her playing servant roles, she said, "I'd rather play a maid and make $700 a week then be one for $7."

Dorothy Dandridge

The beautiful singer and actress (1922-65) began her career as a child, performed as a singer at the Cotton Club and Apollo Theatre and was the first African American to earn an Oscar nomination for lead actress, for 1954's "Carmen Jones."

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