From Award Rejections to History-Making Winners: Here's a Look at Oscar Firsts

February 22, 2019

For decades the Academy Awards have been honoring the best the film industry has to offer and along the way, they have made history with some notable firsts.

For example, in 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American person to win an Oscar. She took home Best Supporting Actress for her work in “Gone with the Wind.”

Sadly, despite her history-making win, McDaniel sat a segregated table away from her castmates.

In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win Best Actor for his role in “Lilies of the Field.”

Decades later, Halle Berry went on to become the first African American woman to win Best Actress in 2002, for her role in “Monster’s Ball.”

But not every winner has always accepted their awards. Marlon Brando famously rejected the statue for his role in “The Godfather” but he wasn’t the first to do so.  

George C. Scott refuse a win for Best Actor in 1971 for “Patton.” The actor believed that the voting process was unfair and called the show a “two-hour meat parade.”

As for the best director category, it was dominated by male winners until 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow took home the Oscar for directing “The Hurt Locker.”

We can’t wait to see who makes history this year.