Black actors who have won Oscars

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Regina King poses with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (If Beale Street Could Talk).
Regina King poses with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress (If Beale Street Could Talk).
Photo: Getty Images

  • Actor Sidney Poitier has died at the age of 94.
  • Poitier was the first black person to win a best actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field.
  • Poitier was awarded an honorary Oscar in 2002 for his "extraordinary performances" on the silver screen and his "dignity, style and intelligence" off of it.


Sidney Poitier, who has died at the age of 94, was among a small group of black stars to win Oscars - and the first to win for best actor.

The celebrated thespian became the first black star nominated for an Academy Award with 1958's The Defiant Ones and, six years later, was the first to win the best actor Oscar for his performance in Lilies of the Field.

Poitier achieved mainstream popularity with a series of groundbreaking roles at a time of great racial tension in America in the 1950s and 1960s.

ALSO READ |Black lodestar: Sidney Poitier in five films

He balanced success with a sense of duty to choose projects that tackled bigotry and stereotypes, including his 1967 classics Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night.

Here is a list of Black performers who have won competitive Academy Awards for acting:

- Best actor -

Sidney Poitier, 1964, Lilies of the Field

Denzel Washington, 2002, Training Day

Jamie Foxx, 2005, Ray

Forest Whitaker, 2007, The Last King of Scotland

- Best actress -

Halle Berry, 2002, Monster's Ball

- Best supporting actor -

Louis Gossett Jr., 1983, An Officer and a Gentleman

Denzel Washington, 1990, Glory

Cuba Gooding Jr., 1997, Jerry Maguire

Morgan Freeman, 2005, Million Dollar Baby

Mahershala Ali, 2017, Moonlight

Mahershala Ali, 2019, Green Book

Daniel Kaluuya, 2021, Judas and the Black Messiah

- Best supporting actress -

Hattie McDaniel, 1940, Gone with the Wind

Whoopi Goldberg, 1991, Ghost

Jennifer Hudson, 2007, Dreamgirls

Mo'Nique, 2010, Precious

Octavia Spencer, 2012, The Help

Lupita Nyong'o, 2014, 12 Years a Slave

Viola Davis, 2017, Fences

Regina King, 2019, If Beale Street Could Talk

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