A biopic about actress Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Academy Award, is officially in development!

The biopic will be based off of Jill Watts’ biography “Hattie McDaniel: Black Ambition, White Hollywood,” and will be produced by Alysia Allen and Aaron Magnani who have acquired the rights to the book.

McDaniel won Best Supporting Actress at the 1939 Academy Awards for her role in Gone With the Wind. It would be another 24 years – with Sidney Poitier’s Best Actor win for Lilies in the Field in 1964 – that another African American would win an acting Oscar, and 52 years before another African-American woman won Best Supporting Actress, with Whoopi Goldberg honored for Ghost in 1991.

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.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the McDaniel biopic is still fresh in the development stage, with no screenwriters, stars or director lined up for the film.

It will be interesting to see how this project develops, and we will certainly keep you posted along the way! Who do you think will be cast as the lead in this film!? Let us know your thoughts!



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The HBR Media Team is a collective group of black women filmmakers, writers, and studio/network executives who are passionate about bringing visibility to women of African descent working in film and television.

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