African Americans in the film Industry

Timeline created by pinny
In Film
  • First African American film company

    First African American film company
    First African American film company: Lincoln Motion Picture Company, 1916
  • First black film Director

    First black film Director
    Film director: Oscar Micheaux, 1919
  • First African American Oscar winner

    First African American Oscar winner
    First Oscar winner: Hattie McDaniel, 1940
  • First African American actress to be featured on a sitcom

    First African American actress to be featured on a sitcom
    Ethel Waters played a titular role in the series Beulah, which premiered on October 3, 1950
  • First African American to host a network television show

    First African American to host a network television show
    Nat 'King' Cole in "The Nat King Cole Show" (1954)
  • First African American nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress

    First African American nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress
    Dorothy Dandridge for Carmen Jones (1954)
  • First African American actor to be nominated for an Academy Award

    First African American actor to be nominated for an Academy Award
    Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  • First African American actor (male or female) to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award

    First African American actor (male or female) to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award
    Diahann Carroll for "Naked City" (1958)
  • First African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor

    First African American to win an Oscar for Best Actor
    Oscar, Best Actor: Sidney Poitier 1963
  • First African American star of a TV drama

    First African American star of a TV drama
    Cicely Tyson in "East Wide/West Side" (1963)
  • First African American in a lead role on TV

    First African American in a lead role on TV
    Bill Cosby first made his appearance in the drama I Spy in 1965 as the first African American in a lead role on TV
  • First black director for a major Hollywood studio

    First black director for a major Hollywood studio
    Gordon Parks, who directed The Learning Tree (1969) for Warner Brothers
  • First African American to win a non-acting Academy Award

    First African American to win a non-acting Academy Award
    Isaac Hayes, who won the award for Best Original Song for the "Theme From Shaft" from Shaft (1972)
  • TV's first interracial couple

    TV's first interracial couple
    Actor and Actress, Franklin Clover and Roxie Roker, portrayed TV’s first interracial couple, Tom and Helen Willis on the “Jeffersons.” The couple was a trailblazer for shows to feature interracial romances and blended families as something that was normal.
  • First African American actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

    First African American actress to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
    Isabel Sanford for "The Jeffersons" in 1981
  • First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor

    First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
    Louis Gossett Jr. for An Officer and a Gentleman (1983)
  • First African American actor to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

    First African American actor to win a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
    Robert Guillaume for "Benson" in 1985
  • First African American producer to be nominated for Best Picture

    First African American producer to be nominated for Best Picture
    Quincy Jones for The Color Purple (1985)
  • First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score

    First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song Score
    Prince for Purple Rain (1985)
  • First African American woman to host a daytime talk show

    First African American woman to host a daytime talk show
    Oprah Winfrey in "The Oprah Winfrey Show" (1986)
  • First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score

    First African American to win an Academy Award for Best Original Score
    Herbie Hancock for 'Round Midnight (1987)
  • First black female director for a major Hollywood Studio

    First black female director for a major Hollywood Studio
    Woman director for a major Hollywood Studio: Julie Dash, 1991
  • First African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director

    First African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director
    John Singleton for Boyz n the Hood (1992)
  • First African American woman to win Golden Globe for Best Actress

    First African American woman to win Golden Globe for Best Actress
    Angela Bassett in What's Love Got to Do With It (1993)
  • First Individual Black Host Of The Oscars

    First Individual Black Host Of The Oscars
    In the Academy Awards’ 87 year history there have been 75 celebrity hosts, but only five have been black. Whoopi Goldberg would be the first black person to host the awards without a co-host in 1994
  • First African American to win an Oscar for Best Actress

    First African American to win an Oscar for Best Actress
    Oscar, Best Actress: Halle Berry, 2001
  • First African American to win two Academy Awards for acting

    First African American to win two Academy Awards for acting
    Denzel Washington in Glory (1989), for which he won Best Supporting Actor, and Training Day (2001), for which he won Best Actor
  • First Disney Princess of African American Heritage

    First Disney Princess of African American Heritage
    Tiana, heroine of The Princess of the Frog (2009), who was voiced by Anika Noni Rose
  • First black President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

    First black President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
    First President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (The Oscars): Cheryl Boone Isaacs, 2013
  • First black director to win an Emmy in comedy

    First black director to win an Emmy in comedy
    The 33-year-old actor, writer, director and musician already won two Golden Globes for creating and starring in the show “Atlanta” earlier this year. And at the 69th annual Emmy Awards on Sunday, he won yet another statue for directing