Oscar History: Best Black Actors who Won Oscars Awards, Complete List Here

Black Actors Oscars Winners: The Academy Awards have been going on since 1929, but it was not until a decade later, when a black actor/actress won the prestigious award. Here is the full list of black artists who have won an Oscar till now.
- Get here complete list of Oscars Winner Best Black Actors
- Get here complete list of Oscars Winner Best Black Actors

Black Actors Oscar Winners List: The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, is one of the most prestigious awards ceremonies in the entertainment industry. Winning an Oscar is the highest honor for actors and filmmakers, and it is a testament to their talent and dedication to their craft. Over the years, many black actors have made history by winning an Oscar, breaking barriers, and challenging the industry's lack of diversity. In this article, we will explore the black best actor Oscar winners and the remarkable performances that earned them this coveted award. We will also examine the impact of their wins and the progress that still needs to be made toward a more inclusive and diverse film industry. Here is a list of the famous black actors who win an Oscar. 

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Black actors to win an Oscar

Over the years, the Oscars have been both praised and criticized for their lack of diversity in nominations and winners. The history of the Academy Awards shows a significant underrepresentation of Black actors, actresses, and filmmakers. The prestigious Academy Awards were not given to a person of color until 1939. Let’s take a look at the black best actors who are Academy Award winners.  

Hattie McDaniel - Best Supporting Actress for "Gone with the Wind" (1939)


Source: Quora

Hattie McDaniel made history by becoming the first black person to win an Oscar.  McDaniel played the role of a slave in the Oscar-winning epic “Gone with the Wind.”


Sidney Poitier - Best Actor for "Lilies of the Field" (1963)


Source: Pinterest

Sidney Poitier, who portrayed Homer Smith in 1963 Lillies of the Field won an Oscar for his role. Poitier won the prestigious award for “Best Actor” and became the first black actor to win in the category. After McDaniel, Poitier was the second black actor to win an Academy Award. 


Louis Gossett Jr. - Best Supporting Actor for "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982)


Source: Twitter

Louis Gossett Jr who played the role of the drill sergeant in the film “An officer and a Gentleman” won Best Supporting Actor at the Academy Awards for his portrayal. He is the third black artist to win an Oscar and the first black actor to win the award in the respective category. 


Denzel Washington - Best Supporting Actor for "Glory" (1989) and Best Actor for "Training Day" (2001)


Source: Oscars Wiki

Denzel Washington is a two-time winner of the Academy Awards. He also has been nominated for the Oscars nine times. 


Halle Berry - Best Actress for "The Monster’s Ball" (2001)


Source: E! Online

Halle Berry portrayed the role of Leticia Musgrove and won an Academy Award for the 2001 film The Monster’s Ball. She is the first black actress to win an Oscar for the Best Actress category and called it heartbreaking in her acceptance speech. 


Jamie Fox - Best Actor for "Ray" (2004)


Source: Purebreak

Jamie Fox portrayed the legendary rhythms & blues (R&B) singer, Ray Charles in the 2004 musical biography “Ray.”


Morgan Freeman - Best Supporting Actor for "Million Dollar Baby" (2004)


Source: Oscars.org

Renowned actor Morgan Freeman won his first Oscar for his role in the 2004 film “Million Dollar Baby”. Prior to the win, he had been nominated for the Oscars thrice. 


Forest Whitaker - Best Actor for "The Last King of Scotland" (2006)


Source: Oscars Wiki

Forest Whitaker won the Oscar for Best Actor for his perfect portrayal of the eccentric President of Uganda, Idi Amin. 


Jennifer Hudson - Best Supporting Actress for “Dreamgirls” (2006)


Source: PopSugar

Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award for portraying Effie White in the broadway musical. 


Mo'Nique - Best Supporting Actress for "Precious" (2009)


Source: People

Mo’Nique played the terrific role of an abusive mother. She won an Oscar for the role. 


Octavia Spencer - Best Supporting Actress for "The Help" (2011)


Source: Alamy

Octavia Spencer won an Oscar for the film “The Help”. She received a standing ovation for her role in the film.

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Lupita Nyong'o - Best Supporting Actress for "12 Years a Slave" (2013)


Source: LA Times

Lupita Nyong’o won her first Oscar for the film “12 Years a Slave.” It was her first feature film and she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. 


Viola Davis - Best Supporting Actress for “Fences” (2016)


Source: Entertainment Weekly

Viola Davis won her first Oscar for portraying Rose, the wife of a garbage collector in 1950s America. The movie was directed by Denzel Washington. 


Mahershala Ali - Best Supporting Actor for "Moonlight" (2016) and "Green Book" (2018)


Source: SBnation

Mahershala Ali is a two-time winner of the Academy Awards. He won both of his Oscars for Best Supporting Actor for the films “Moonlight” and “green Book”. 


Regina King - Best Supporting Actress for "If Beale Street Could Talk" (2018)


Source: Newsweek

Regina King played the role of a mother helping her daughter’s boyfriend, who was falsely accused of rape.


Daniel Kaluuya - Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2020)


Source: AP News

Daniel Kaluuya won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He is the first black British actor to win an Oscar.


Will Smith - Best Actor for “King Richard” (2021)


Source: ANI News

Will Smith won his first Oscar for his portrayal of Richard Williams, father of Serena and Venus Williams. Smith also made headlines for slapping comedian Chris Rock on the stage for a joke. 


Ariana DeBose - Best Supporting Actress for “West Side Story” (2021)


Source: LA Times

Ariana DeBose played the role of Anita in Steven Spielberg’s classical remake “West Side Story.” She won an Academy Award for the role in 2022 and created history by becoming the first openly queer POC to win the award. She is also the first African-Latino woman to win an Oscar. 

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These actors have made significant contributions to the film industry, and their Oscar wins have paved the way for greater diversity and representation in Hollywood. Let’s take a look at Oscars 2023 to see which black actor bags the prestigious award. 



Has a Black person ever won an Oscar for Best Actor?

Yes. Sidney Poitier was the first black actor to win an Oscar for Best Actor. Forest Whitaker, Jamie Fox, and Will Smith have also won an Oscar in the same category.

How many Black actors have won an Oscar?

18 black actors have won an Oscar so far. It remains to be seen who will bag the Academy Awards this award season of 2023.
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