Happy Leap Day —- February is Black History Month and this year, 2012, it gets an extra day.
On Sunday, during the 84th Academy Awards, Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress from her portrayal of the sassy maid Minny in “The Help“. In doing so she became only the 14th black actor/actress to be honored with an Oscar. There have been 4 black men awarded an Oscar for Best Actor, 1 black woman awarded the Oscar for Best Actress, 4 black men awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and 5 black women awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. You can view all their names, along with the year and movie here.
It is interesting to note that this latest Oscar awarded to a black woman has certain parallels with the first Oscar awarded to a black actor/actress. The year was 1940 and Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Oscar. It was also an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and her role was also that of a maid – Mammy in “Gone With the Wind.”