This article was originally published for Quintessential Gentleman

After various awards shows this season, from the Golden Globes to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, we have seen Black actors whom we’ve championed for years finally receive their first nominations at these major awards shows, including Jeffrey Wright, Sterling K. Brown and Colman Domingo.

As the Hollywood awards season comes to a close with this year’s Academy Awards, in which the gentlemen above are all nominees, let’s look at some previous Black Oscar winners, five of whom won for their portrayals of real-life icons.

Will Smith received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Muhammed Ali in the biopic Ali (2001), followed by a second nomination for playing Chris Gardner in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006). While Smith lost both times, his third nomination landed him a win for his performance as Richard Williams, father of Venus and Serena Williams, in the film King Richard (2021).

Jamie Foxx made history in 2005 when he received two Oscar nominations during the same year in the categories of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for his roles as the late music legend Ray Charles in Ray (2004) and as a cab driver in Collateral (2004). Foxx won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Ray at the 2005 ceremony.

Forest Whitaker won an Oscar with his first and only nomination for his leading role as the late Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland (2006) during the 2007 awards show.

Daniel Kaluuya also won an Oscar for his first nomination, in which he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and The Black Messiah (2021). He was up against his fellow co-star LaKeith Stanfield in the same category.

Mahershala Ali won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role as real-life jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley in Green Book (2018). He had previously won his first Academy Award in 2017 for his role in Moonlight.

Sidney Poitier broke ground by becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar, clinching the Best Actor in a Leading Role award in 1964 for his performance in Lilies of the Field (1963). Poitier had previously faced a loss when he was initially nominated for The Defiant Ones (1958). Following his retirement from acting, he was honored with the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievement.

Finally, no list of Black Oscar winners would be complete without mentioning Denzel Washington. Washington has received ten nominations and has been nominated in every decade since the 1980s. He won the Best Actor award for Training Day (2001) and Best Supporting Actor for Glory (1989). However, Washington has never won an Oscar for his portrayal of real-life icons such as Malcolm X or boxer Rubin Carter.

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