It’s been 30 years since Whoopi Goldberg officially won her first Oscar. In 1991, Denzel Washington opened the envelope at the Academy Awards, flashed a big smile, and declared the actress, comedian and TV host the winner of the best-supporting actress award for her outstanding performance as psychic Oda Mae Brown in the film “Ghost.” Now, 30 years later and in preparation for the 2021 Academy Awards, she’s reflecting on that amazing moment with Variety as the magazine’s latest cover star.
For “Hollywood’s Biggest Night” in 1991, Whoopi wore a black sequined gown from costume designer Nolan Miller. Her signature locs were tied back and held together with a diamond-encrusted barrette that matched her sparkly, dangly earrings and necklace. She looked amazing, happy, and joyful and upon watching her younger self gleefully take the stage after being crowned the winner, the veteran entertainer agreed, saying, “I looked really good. My hair was cool. Dress was cute.”
Whoopi’s big win made her the first Black woman to receive an Oscar in 50 years – 50 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first Black person to win in any category for her role in “Gone With The Wind.” Following McDaniel’s historic win in 1940, only three Black people would take home an Academy Award. Among them – all men – included Sidney Poitier who won best actor in 1964 for “Lilies of the Field”, Louis Gossett Jr. who won best supporting actor in 1983 for “An Officer and a Gentleman” and Denzel Washington who took home the big win for best supporting actor in 1990 for “Glory.”
Now, as we prepare to tune in to yet another Academy Award ceremony tonight, Whoopi has officially earned her status as Hollywood royalty, being one of only 16 entertainers to reach EGOT status having received an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar throughout her decades-long career. And while we may not get the red carpet moments we’re used due to the pandemic, Whoopi made up for it with this eclectic photoshoot for Variety in honor of the 30th anniversary of her big night.
Variety shared a few pictures from the gorgeous photo set to their Instagram page, captioning the photos with excerpts from Whoopi’s legendary interview with the magazine. In one photo, the multifaceted star wore a puffy black Christian Siriano gown, earrings and bracelet by New York Vintage, and rings by Sevan Bicaki. She traded in her signature locs for a natural afro that was shaped in what looked almost like a mullet – a trend that’s becoming quite popular among the fashion girls these days.
In another photo set, she looked fabulous in a teal blue trench coat by Christian Siriano, a pink Gucci scarf, and a nude hat by Nina Ricci. She posed confidently in a way that showed off her entire look and made each color pop in the most effortless way. Yes, she did what needed to be done.
And while the Oscars will look a bit different this year due to COVID-19 protocols, this year’s nominees are the most diverse ever, with nine people of color nominated in 20 acting categories. Thus, making 2021 the first time all four categories will be won by a person of color…a long way from Whoopi’s historic win in 1991.