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Record year for black actors: 5 bids

January 23, 2007 |  6:24 am

Sorry, but you can't blame "Dreamgirls" being snubbed in the best-picture and director races on a suspicion of prejudice by the white-dominated Hollywood. This year there's a breakthrough number of black nominees in the acting races (five): Forest Whitaker ("Last King of Scotland"), Will Smith ("Pursuit of Happyness"), Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson ("Dreamgirls") and Djimon Hounsou ("Blood Diamond"). This ties the previous record set in 2004 when Jamie Foxx scored two noms ("Ray," "Collateral") plus there were bids for "Hotel Rwanda" stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo and Morgan Freeman ("Million Dollar Baby").

Previous black nominees include (it's inappropriate to say "African-America" since some are British and African:

Sidney Poitier ("The Defiant Ones," 1958; "Lilies of the Field,"* 1963), James Earl Jones ("The Great White Hope," 1970), Paul Winfield ("Sounder," 1972), Dexter Gordon ("'Round Midnight," 1986), Morgan Freeman ("Driving Miss Daisy," 1989; "Shawshank Redemption," 1994), Denzel Washington ("Malcolm X," 1992; "The Hurricane," 1999; "Training Day,"* 2001), Laurence Fishburne ("What's Love Got to do with It," 1993), Will Smith ("Ali," 2001) Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda," 2004), Jamie Foxx ("Ray,"* 2004), Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow," 2005)

Dorothy Dandridge ("Carmen Jones," 1954), Whoopi Goldberg ("The Color Purple," 1985); Diana Ross ("Lady Sings the Blues," 1972), Cicely Tyson ("Sounder," 1972), Diahann Carroll ("Claudine," 1974), Angela Bassett ("What's Love Got to Do with It," 1993), Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball,"* 2001)

Rupert Crosse ("The Rievers," 1969), Howard E. Rollins ("Ragtime," 1981), Louis Gossett, Jr. ("An Officer and a Gentleman,"* 1982) Adolph Caesar ("A Soldier's Story," 1984), Morgan Freeman ("Street Smart," 1988; "Million Dollar Baby,"* 2004), Denzel Washington ("Cry Freedom," 1988; "Glory,"* 1989); Jaye Davidson, "The Crying Game," 1992), Samuel L. Jackson ("Pulp Fiction," 1994), Cuba Gooding, Jr. ("Jerry Maguire,"* 1996), Michael Clarke Duncan ("The Green Mile," 1999), Djimon Hounsou ("In America," 2002), Jamie Foxx ("Ray," 2004)

Hattie McDaniel ("Gone with the Wind,"* 1939), Ethel Waters ("Pinky," 1949), Juanita Moore ("Imitation of Life," 1959), Beah Richards ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," 1967), Alfre Woodard (""Cross Creek," 1983), Whoopi Goldberg ("Ghost,"* 1990), Margaret Avery ("The Color Purple," 1985), Oprah Winfrey ("The Color Purple," 1985), Marianne Jean-Baptiste ("Secrets and Lies," 1996), Queen Latifah, ("Chicago," 2002) Sophie Okonedo ("Hotel Rwanda," 2004)