A biopic about the life of Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actress to receive an acting nomination and to win an Academy Award, is officially on the way. The film rights to Jill Watts’ biography Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood have been obtained by producer Alysia Allen. Aaron Magnani will produce, according to THR.
McDaniel was best known for her role as “Mammy” in Gone with the Wind (1939), based on the epic novel by Margaret Mitchell. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the heartfelt performance, the first Oscar won by an African-American entertainer.
It would be another 25 years before Sidney Poitier would win the second for his lead role in Lilies in the Field in 1964. Another African-American woman wouldn’t take home the prestigious award until 1991, when Whoopi Goldberg won Best Supporting Actress for Ghost.
When Mo’nique won the same Oscar for Precious in 2010, the actress thanked McDaniel “for enduring all that she had to so that I would not have to” in her acceptance speech.
While the film has received the greenlight, it is still in its development stage, with no screenwriters, stars or director lined up thus far.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.