Jordan Peele made Oscar history this past Sunday by becoming the first black writer to win Best Original Screenplay for this hit movie “Get Out.” Although Peele was the first one to win that category, he was not the first black screenwriter to be nominated. So, who were the other black writers nominated for this top honor in Oscars’ 90-year history?
Believe it or not, there have only been three other black writers nominated in this category in 90 years, with the first one taking place in 1972 and the last one, before Peele, in 1991.
And the nominees were…
Suzanne de Passe for “Lady Sings the Blues” in 1972
Suzanne de Passe is a TV, music, and film producer who had the honor of becoming the first, and only, black woman to ever be nominated for best Original Screenplay. She co-wrote the film about Billie Holiday, which was loosely based on her 1956 autobiography. De Passe is well known for her work with Motown founder Berry Gordy and served as the President of Motown Productions.
Spike Lee for “Do the Right Thing” in 1989
Mr. Lee not only wrote this classic film, but he produced, directed, and starred in it! “Do the Right Thing” was deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the national Film Registry in 1999. And 30 years after the film’s release, we are still dealing with the same social issues so beautifully highlighted in “Do the Right Thing.”
John Singleton for “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991
Singleton’s wrote and directed “Boyz n the Hood” and assembled a cast that included Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jt, Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Regina King, and Angela Bassett. Now, that’s a cast! Singleton was also nominated for Best Director, which made him the first black director to be nominated for the award.