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Hattie McDaniel to Receive Posthumous Oscar Replacement, Howard University Ceremony

Late actress Hattie McDaniel will have her Academy Awards posthumously replaced nearly 85 years after she won Best Supporting Actress. According to Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy Museum will gift Howard University with a replacement of the Oscars statuette. Placed in the Howard University Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts, the institution will also hold a “Hattie’s Come Home” ceremony at its Ira Aldridge Theater on October 1.

McDaniel won the Best Supporting Actress accolade in 1939 for her portrayal of Mammy in classic drama Gone with the Wind. During the ceremony, which was racially segregated, McDaniel was seated on the far side of the room at Los Angeles’ Ambassador Hotel.

“This is one of the happiest moments of my life, and I want to thank each one of you who had a part in selecting me for one of the awards for your kindness. It has made me feel very, very humble and I shall always hold it as a beacon for anything I may be able to do in the future,” McDaniel said in her acceptance speech. Continuing her acting career before passing in 1952 at 59 years old, McDaniel’s roles often replicated her Mammy character.

Hattie McDaniel winning Best Supporting Actress: 12th Oscars (1940)

During the 1939 ceremony, McDaniel was given a plaque instead of a statuette, which was displayed at Howard University following her death. The award was displayed at the university’s drama department until the late 1960s, and hasn’t been found.

“Hattie McDaniel was a groundbreaking artist who changed the course of cinema and impacted generations of performers who followed her. We are thrilled to present a replacement of Hattie McDaniel’s Academy Award to Howard University,” said Academy Museum Director and President Jacqueline Stewart and Academy CEO Bill Kramer in a joint statement. “This momentous occasion will celebrate Hattie McDaniel’s remarkable craft and historic win.”

“When I was a student in the College of Fine Arts at Howard University, in what was then called the Department of Drama, I would often sit and gaze in wonder at the Academy Award that had been presented to Ms. Hattie McDaniel, which she had gifted to the College of Fine Arts,” stated Phylicia Rashad, actress and dean of the Boseman College of Fine Arts. “I am overjoyed that this Academy Award is returning to what is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University. This immense piece of history will be back in the College of Fine Arts for our students to draw inspiration from. Ms. Hattie is coming home!”

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