13 June 2014

Praise for the Academy

The 12th Academy Awards Ceremony, held on 29 February 1940 at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, was a memorable one. Not only did "Gone with the Wind" take home almost all of the Oscars, but amongst the winners was also the first African American ever to win an Oscar. For her great performance as Mammy in "Gone with the Wind" Hattie McDaniel was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, beating co-star Olivia de Havilland who was also nominated. The fact that the Academy had the courage to award an African American, inspired John Weaver (an African American himself) to put pen to paper. Two weeks after the ceremony, on 15 March 1940, Weaver wrote the Academy the following letter:

Photo: Hattie McDaniel with presenter Fay Bainter at the 12th Academy Awards in 1940

Transcript:

Dear sirs:

Please accept my belated congratulations for your "Courage" in Judging (Our) Miss Hattie McDaniels [sic] the Best Supporting Actress. 
I am Proud to see the Motion Picture Industry grow more Detirmined [sic] to Apply Democracy.
I know your Act will Create a Vast amount of Goodwill and will help Americans to Grow out of their Mistaken Beleifs [sic] about each other.
May All of you Grow in Wisdom and Understanding and enjoy Good Health, Happiness and Success in All of your Efforts.

Sincerely yours

John Weaver

*Click here if you'd like to watch a clip of Fay Bainter presenting the Oscar to Hattie McDaniel, followed by McDaniel's acceptance speech.

2 comments:

  1. Wonderful letter. Thanks for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome and thanks again for commenting.

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