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The Academy Got It Wrong: Black Oscar Winners and the Roles They Should Have Won For

Photo of Jai Tiggett By Jai Tiggett | Shadow and Act February 28, 2014 at 10:30AM

In anticipation of the Academy Award ceremony this weekend, here’s a look back at the black actors who’ve taken home the Oscar, and which other roles they should have won for, if any.


Forest Whitaker Oscar

Forest Whitaker 

Won for: Idi Amin, The Last King of Scotland (2006)            

Looks like the Academy got it right on this one, as there were few complaints about Whitaker's Best Actor win. With Will Smith nominated alongside him for The Pursuit of Happyness, Whitaker was still the favorite to win for his portrayal of brutal Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, for which he also won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA.

If there were another role Whitaker should have won for, it might be in Clint Eastwood’s Charlie Parker biopic Bird (1988), for which he won a Golden Globe instead.

Best Actress

Halle Berry Oscar

 Halle Berry           

Won for: Leticia Musgrove, Monster's Ball (2001)

I'd argue that Berry's strongest and most memorable work has actually been in television instead of film. Starring roles in biopic Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999) and Alex Haley’s Queen (1993) have been some of her most solid dramatic performances to date. For Dandridge, Berry walked away with a Golden Globe, Emmy and an NAACP Image Award.

Best Supporting Actor


Louis Gossett, Jr.           

Won for: Sgt. Foley, An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)

In his seven decade-long career, Sgt. Foley is still perhaps Gossett's best known feature film role. But with at least 11 upcoming projects listed on his slate between now and 2016, including Clement Virgo's Book of Negroes adaptation and Vondie Curtis Hall's Robeson biopic, the veteran actor's next iconic role could be yet to come.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Denzel Washington, Halle Berry, Sidney Poitier, Louis Gossett Jr., Whoopi Goldberg, Morgan Freeman, Jamie Foxx, Octavia Spencer, Forest Whitaker, Cuba Gooding, Jennifer Hudson, Mo'Nique

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