Winning Big: The First Black Entertainers To Win At The Golden Globe Awards


For decades, Black culture has dominated the entertainment industry. From music to sports to film and beyond, Black entertainers have always paved the way. Unfortunately, Black artists have not always been recognized for their accomplishments. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first Black woman to win an Academy Award winner. It was not until 1958 that Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald became the first Black musicians to win Grammy Awards. Whether it be the Heisman Trophy in college football or the Emmy Awards in television, Black leaders have had to fight for recognition. With the Golden Globe Awards on the horizon, take a look back at the Black actors, actresses, directors, producers and screenplay writers who have paved the way for the films many enjoy today.

Sidney Poitier

Year: 1964

Category: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

In 1959, Poitier became the first Black actor to be nominated for the Golden Globe Award for "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama." After being recognized for his work in The Defiant Ones, he went on to win the category in 1964 for his performance in Lillies of the Field.

Whoopi Goldberg

Year: 1986, 1991

Category: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

In 1962, Claudia McNeil became the first Black woman to be nominated for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama" at the Golden Globe Awards. However, it took nearly another 25 years before a Black woman won the award. In 1984, Goldberg broke through with her performance in The Color Purple. One year later, Goldberg became the first Black woman to win the "Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture" category for her performance in Ghost. She was also nominated for an Academy Award for this performance.

Morgan Freeman

Year: 1990

Category: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

In 1960, Sidney Poitier became the first Black actor to be nominated in this category. Over the next year 29 years, James Earl Jones, Eddie Murphy and Carl Anderson earned four nominations in this category, but it wasn't until 1990 that Morgan Freeman broke through. Freeman became the first Black actor to win "Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy" for his performance in Driving Ms. Daisy.

Angela Bassett

Year: 1994

Category: Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Up until 1994, no Black woman had been recognized by the Golden Globe Awards for their work in a comedy or musical film. In 1994, Angela Bassett broke the barrier when she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in What's Love Got To Do With It. She was also nominated for an Academy Award in 1994.

Louis Gossett Jr.

Year: 1983

Category: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture

Over the years, Gossett Jr. has starred in Iron Eagle, Watchmen, Roots and several other projects. In 1983, he made his mark by becoming the first Black actor to win "Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture" for his performance in An Officer and a Gentleman.

Peter Ramsey

Year: 2019

Category: Best Motion Picture – Animated

It wasn't until 2019 that a Black animator won the "Best Motion Picture – Animated" Golden Globe Award. Peter Ramsey won the award for leading one of the most critically acclaimed animated films in history, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Issac Hayes

Year: 1972

Category: Best Original Score – Motion Picture

In 1972, Issac Hayes became the first Black nominee and winner for "Best Original Score - Motion Picture." He took home the Golden Globe Award for his work on the original Shaft film.

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