The long-lost Oscar of Hattie McDaniel, the pioneering Black actor awarded for her role in Gone With the Wind, is set to be replaced by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. According to Deadline, a replica of McDaniel’s original award, bestowed upon her as Best Supporting Actress in 1939, will be graciously donated to Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts.
McDaniel’s groundbreaking accolade, which had been bequeathed to Howard University, mysteriously vanished in the 1960s or 70s and has eluded recovery since. Phylicia Rashad, the dean of Boseman College, expressed delight over the return of this vital piece of cinematic history, emphasizing the inspiration it would provide to aspiring students at the institution.
Differing from contemporary Oscars, McDaniel’s honour was a plaque, the standard recognition for supporting roles from 1936 to 1942. The university is planning a celebratory event, named Hattie’s Come Home, to mark the auspicious return of the award, scheduled for October 1 at the Ira Aldridge Theater in Washington, D.C.
Hattie McDaniel, born in 1893 in Wichita, Kansas, transitioned from a flourishing singing career to the silver screen, leaving an indelible mark with performances in movies like I’m No Angel, The Little Colonel, and, most notably, Gone With the Wind. Despite her triumphant win, McDaniel was barred from the movie premiere in Atlanta due to the prevailing Jim Crow laws, and her attendance at the segregated Oscar ceremony was met with contention.
Despite the controversy surrounding her role and the movie itself, McDaniel carved a successful path in the industry, briefly leading in the TV series Beulah until health issues led to her retirement. Her historic win remained unparalleled until Whoopi Goldberg’s Oscar victory in 1990 for Ghost. McDaniel’s legacy continues to be celebrated, with Howard University’s upcoming event commemorating her remarkable contribution to the movie industry. Source