"We to be led to think that when the Oscars went kinda-black they might never walk all the way back," Bell writes in an essay for THR on the 74th Academy Awards, wherein Sidney Poitier likewise was honored and also Whoopi Goldberg hosted.

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This story very first appeared in the in march 4 worry of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click below to subscribe.

The year to be 2002. It was the blackest Academy Awards in history. And that record-breaking blackness boiled down to the number four. Just 4 African-Americans, and that year’s Oscars was talked about like it was the NAACP photo Awards. Denzel Washington won best actor because that Training Day. Halle Berry won ideal actress because that Monster’s Ball. Sidney Poitier got an Honorary Oscar because that a life time of gift Sidney Poitier. (Why the took until 2002 is worth a Michael Moore full-length documentary.) and the entirety evening was held by Lady EGOT herself, Whoopi Goldberg. And yes, choose a late-night infomercial, there to be more. Will Smith to be nominated because that Ali, and … Well, actually, i think that was pretty lot it, unless I’m lacking a black sound results editor or something. Yet the typical wisdom coming the end of the tiny tsunami of blackness was that this was the beginning of a sea change. Us were led to believe that once the Oscars go kinda-black the they can never walk all the means back. Yet go ago they did. The complying with year, the just hint the blackness to be Queen Latifah’s ideal supporting actress nomination because that the musical Chicago — and additionally the film the won for ideal foreign-language film referred to as Nowhere in Africa, a German film that was in no-way around Africans. (Of course it was around white world in Africa.)


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There to be no sea change after 2002. Simply like clearly there was no sea adjust after 12 year a Slave won in 2014. Right here we space again two quick years later rebooting #OscarsSoWhite. And every one of this is in preparation for the “Great Nate Parker-ing that 2017,” when his movie The bear of a Nation is certain to be lauded as the start of a new era that the Academy’s acknowledgment that diversity in film. And also I don’t watch that happening, not without a rebellion similar to the one presented in his film.

And while we room talking diversity and also Oscar winners, in spite of the fact that numerous words have been written around how the fastest route to Oscar yellow is playing a human with disabilities, every time the Marlee Matlin is through herself, she is having actually a reunion the every living actor v disabilities that has ever won an Academy Award. The other human is dead. Damn.

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Goldberg earned blended reviews together host.

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“Y’ALL THREW united state A BONE”

In the year that #OscarsSoWhite, it can seem preposterous come think of a time as soon as there were jokes around the prevalence of African-American gibbs nominated because that Academy Awards. Yet it taken place at the 2002 Oscars. In her opened monologue, Whoopi Goldberg — hosting for the 3rd time — cracked of the Oscar campaigning, “So much mud has been thrown this year, all the nominees watch black.”

But what was hailed as a historical moment for African-Americans in the movie industry was correct met through some skepticism. Here, numbers behind the telecast and also some that Hollywood’s top black stars and creators recall the night the was claimed to change everything.

AUNJANUE ELLIS (Actress, Quantico) do Berry was exceptionally brave in what she did. To acquire validated by that Oscar win, the felt affirming.


COURTNEY KEMP (Executive producer, Power) the was a transformative moment for me together a black woman due to the fact that she talked in her speech around the shoulders she stood on. It was wonderful.

DANIELLE NICOLET (Actress, The Game) together a young actress, the meant every little thing to check out someone that looked prefer me to win an award the wasn’t for play a slave or a housekeeper. To see Halle Berry up there for that movie — which to be so dark and so external of what you typically see African-American actors play in movies — was inspiring.

BRUCE VILANCH (Writer, Oscar broadcast) Going into the show, Russell Crowe was kind of favored to victory for A Beautiful Mind. I think he had some event — <he acquired into a physics altercation through a BBC executive, management after the BAFTA awards> — and it may have tilted in Denzel’s favor.

LEEZA GIBBONS (Co-host, Oscar preshow) Denzel said in the media room he wasn’t thinking of his success in regards to history, yet his win produced a touching minute where everyone might sense how much things had actually come and how much they had to go.

Since 2002, 7 black actors have actually won Oscars (Jamie Foxx, woodland Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson, Mo’Nique, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong’o and also Morgan Freeman), and 12 year a Slave, a movie v a black color writer and also a black color director, won ideal pic­ture in 2014. But more than ever, the 2002 occasion seems prefer an aberration.

ADRIENNE MOORE (Actress, Orange Is the brand-new Black) ns remember watching it, and there to be an undertone of, “Y’all threw us a bone so we won’t complain.”

JOE MORTON (Actor, Scandal) i was an extremely happy every one of that happened, however I remember the next day I visited the store and the mrs behind the counter said, “It was a an excellent night for you human being last night.” and I said, “I don’t know around ‘us people,’ but it to be a great night for those four individuals.”

KEMP The diversity controversy isn’t just around this year — it’s around a entirety bunch of years and movement.

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SIDNEY POITIER (Actor) You need to understand what crucial moment the was. We room all still looking for an essential acceptance.