The 90th Academy Awards honoring the best films of 2017 will be held Sunday, March 4. Women are expected to take center stage at this edition following the various harassment and discrimination scandals currently shaking up Hollywood, notably since the Weinstein revelations broke.
Here are five women who have made their mark on Oscars history since the prestigious United States movie industry awards began in 1929.
In 1940, at the 12th edition of the Oscars, Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American actress to win a golden gong for her supporting role in “Gone With the Wind”. It wasn’t until 2002 that an African-American actress won for a leading role, when Halle Berry scooped “Best Actress” for “Monster’s Ball”.
In 1979, the actress known for her stance against the Vietnam War, won her second Oscar for “Coming Home”, a movie about the trauma experienced by U.S. soldiers returning home. When accepting the award, Jane Fonda used sign language in her speech.
Eight years later, the “Best Actress” Oscar went to Marlee Matlin, a deaf actress who played a deaf-mute character in “Children of a Lesser God”. Her victory was greatly applauded, notably by fellow nominees Jane Fonda, Sissy Spacek, Kathleen Turner and Sigourney Weaver.
In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow made Oscars history as the first woman to win the Academy Award for “Best Director” for “The Hurt Locker”. “Well, the time has come,” announced Barbra Streisand as she opened the envelope to reveal the winner’s name.
The actress moved the Oscars audience in 2015 with a passionate speech in favor of equality between men and women in the U.S. when accepting “Best Supporting Actress” for her performance in Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood”.