The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to posthumously honor Hattie McDaniel by reinstating her missing Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. She won in 1940 for her role in Gone With the Wind.
Upon her passing, McDaniel donated her award to Howard University however its whereabouts are unknown.
In an announcement by the Academy, a new Oscar will go to Howard University’s Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts. The HBCU is planning to hold a ceremony for the return of the award called “Hattie’s Come Home.” The ceremony will be held on October 1st, complete with music and an excerpt of LaDarrion Williams’ Boulevard of Bold Dreams, a play inspired by the late actress.
“I am overjoyed that this Academy Award is returning to what is now the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University,” Phylicia Rashad, dean of the college, said in a news release ahead of the event. “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!”
When she originally won the award at the 12th Academy Awards ceremony in 1940, McDaniel was seated separately from the film’s other nominees. At the time, the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, where the ceremony was held, was segregated.
In her acceptance speech, she shared how proud she was to win the award. 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. I sincerely hope I shall always be a credit to my race and to the motion picture industry.”