In a piece entitled Hollywood and the Year of the Whiteout, which was published on Sunday (13Feb11), writers Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott claimed that in the past 73 years, only seven black actors have won Oscars. They referenced triumphs by the likes of Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx and acting legend Sidney Poitier, who made history in 1963 when he became the first black person to win a statuette for Best Actor.
The article provoked controversy among film fans, because the figures touted by the leading Times journalists were wrong – in fact, 13 previous Oscar winners in the acting categories had been of black origin. Goldberg became one of the 13 when she claimed the Best Supporting Actress honour for her performance in Ghost in 1981.
The scandal was brought up during a fiery discussion on Monday’s (14Feb11) episode of U.S. talk show The View, on which Goldberg serves as a co-host, and the actress/singer used the opportunity to make her feelings known, revealing she is “terribly hurt” by the glaring omission.
And she has blasted Dargis and Scott for effectively “erasing” her career achievements from movie history.
She ranted, “I am embarrassed to tell you, it hurt me terribly. When you win an Academy Award, that’s part of what you’ve done, your legacy. I will always be ‘Academy Award winner Whoopi Goldberg…’
“Not only am I an Academy Award winner, I have made over 50 films; I have been nominated twice – once for The Color Purple, once for Ghost – and I won for Ghost. I am told that I am one of the 12 (artists in history) of what they call the EGOT (stars who own an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award)…
“It’s very hard not to take it personally, but this is sloppy journalism because this is not a hidden thing. Everybody kinda knows. People in Somalia know, people in China know, because I am a worldwide person who’s known… It was 50 years between (Gone With The Wind star) Hattie McDaniel, the first black woman to win, and me.
“So this omission, I don’t know what to say about what you’ve done. You’re sloppy in your work, you’re supposed to be better than this, this is the New York Times… It hurt… Get your facts straight.”