Hattie McDaniel’s missing Oscar, which she won for her performance in Gone With the Wind, will finally be replaced.
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel made history when she became the first Black actor to win an Oscar, taking home the award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Gone With the Wind. She bequeathed her Oscar to Howard University after her death in 1952, but at some point in the late ’60s/early ’70s, it went missing, never to be seen again.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that they will be giving a replacement Oscar to Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. The Oscar that Hattie McDaniel was awarded in 1940 wasn’t a statuette, but a plaque that all supporting acting winners received at the time. This replacement will be a proper Oscar statuette and will be presented at Howard’s Ira Aldrige Theater on October 1st during a ceremony called “Hattie’s Come Home.”
“Hattie McDaniel was a groundbreaking artist who changed the course of cinema and impacted generations of performers who followed her,” Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Academy CEO Bill Kramer said in a statement. “We are thrilled to present a replacement of Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award to Howard University. This momentous occasion will celebrate Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable craft and historic win.“
Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, added, “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. 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!“
Following Hattie McDaniel’s historic win, Sidney Poitier was the first Black man to win an Oscar, taking home the Best Actor Award for Lilies of the Field in 1964, but it would be fifty years before another Black woman won an acting Oscar, when Whoopi Goldberg won the Best Supporting Actress Award for Ghost.