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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.


Won for: Mary, Precious (2009)

If there was any role that Mo'Nique would win an Oscar for, it was this one. Prior to Precious in 2009, she was known primarily for her standup and roles in comedy films like Soul Plane (2004) and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008). She also took a hiatus from films since then, with her first major role since Precious being Blackbird in 2014. 

Octavia Spencer Oscar

Octavia Spencer

Won for: Minny Jackson, The Help (2011)

Going out on a limb to say that her best role is yet to come. At the time, The Help was decried as another case of "black people can only win awards when they're playing maids and butlers." But before winning the Oscar, Spencer spent about 15 years as a character actor in minor film and TV roles, in everything from Being John Malkovich to Big Momma's House. Now that she's been attached to higher profile projects, there's a solid chance that a leading actress Oscar is in her future.

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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