Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whoopi Goldberg slams New York Times for Oscar 'snub'

Academy Awards veteran ... Whoopi Goldberg has presented the Oscars four times. Photograph:

By Ben Childs

Actor furious over article on black Academy Award winners that neglected to mention her 1991 prize for best supporting actress

Hell hath no fury like an Oscar winner scorned. The actor Whoopi Goldberg has attacked the New York Times for failing to mention her in an article about black Academy Award winners.

Last week's extended feature by Manohla Dargis and AO Scott concerned the lack of racial diversity among this year's Oscar nominees in comparison to previous years. It mentioned past winners such as Halle Berry and Denzel Washington, who won the best actress and best actor gongs in 2002, as well as figures such as Hattie McDaniel, awarded best supporting actress in 1940 for her role as Mammy in Gone With the Wind.

There were also mentions for Jamie Foxx and Forest Whitaker, who best actor in 2005 and 2007 respectively, as well as Morgan Freeman (best supporting actor in 2005), Jennifer Hudson and Mo'Nique (best supporting actresses in 2007 and 2010). But there was no mention of Goldberg's win in the same category for 1990's Ghost, in which she played a fake psychic who begins to see real spirits.

"I am embarrassed to tell you it hurt me terribly," Goldberg said during an appearance on US TV show The View yesterday. "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, and [I] have been dismissed and erased by the New York Times film critics, who should know better."

Goldberg added: "I have made over 50 films. I have been nominated twice – once for The Color Purple, once for Ghost. And I won for Ghost."

"This is not hidden information, and to these two critics, who are the head critics of the New York Times ... it's hard not to take it personally. This is sloppy journalism."

"People in Somalia know [about my Oscar win]," Goldberg said. "People in China know."

The New York Times was, however, unapologetic: "The error lies with those who are reading the story incorrectly. The point of the piece was not to name every black actor or actress who has been awarded an Oscar, it was to draw a comparison between the number who won prior to 2002 (the year Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won) and those who have won since. And the story states very clearly that in 73 years, prior to 2002, only seven black actors/actresses won Oscars.

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