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5 Times Women Have Made History At The Oscars

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Throughout the history of the Oscars, women have made significant contributions and achieved many historic milestones. Here are some notable examples:

1. Rita Moreno

Rita Moreno became the first Latina woman to win an Oscar. She won for her performance as Anita in the film adaptation of the Broadway musical West Side Story. However, after winning her Oscar, she said she still faced discrimination in Hollywood, telling the Miami Herald in 2008, “Before ‘West Side Story,’ I was always offered the stereotypical Latina roles. The Conchitas and Lolitas in westerns. I was always barefoot. It was humiliating, embarrassing stuff. But I did it because there was nothing else. After ‘West Side Story,’ it was pretty much the same thing. A lot of gang stories.” Moreno is also one of the few (and only Latina) EGOT holders

Rita Moreno alongside present-day Anita, Ariana DeBose

2. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster was the first openly LGBTQ woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress. An openly bisexual woman, Jodie Foster became the first LGBTQ woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress and the first LGBTQ woman to win two. Foster won her first Oscar in 1989 for “The Accused” and her second in 1992 for “Silence of the Lambs.”

3. Halle Berry

Halle Berry remains the only Black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2001, she won and became the first African American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress for Monster’s Ball. In her acceptance speech, Berry said, “It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color who has a chance because this door has been opened tonight. Thank you. I’m so honored.” In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite movement in 2017, Berry told Teen Vogue’s Elaine Welteroth that her win was meaningless to her as Hollywood had yet to give women of color the accolades and opportunities they deserve.

4. Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win best director in 2009 for The Hurt Locker. She dedicated the award to “the women and men in the military who risk their lives on a daily basis in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world.”

5. Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win Best Actress. She won for her performance in Everything Everywhere all at Once at the most recent 95th Academy Awards. She is the fifth person of Asian descent to win an Oscar in an acting category and the first to win in a lead acting category. In her speech, she says “For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities. This is proof to dream big and dreams do come true and ladies don’t let anybody tell you you’re ever past your prime.”

👯‍♀️ Related: The Oscars Reach New Representational Heights — But Still Have A Long Way To Go

These women and many more have all left their mark on the Oscars and the film industry as a whole, and their achievements will continue to inspire future generations of filmmakers and artists

Naya Hall

U Conn '26

Naya is a freshmen at the University of Connecticut studying English. She loves reading , Taylor Swift, and watching romcoms and coming of age movies.