Whenever an African American wins an award it is viewed by the African American community as historic, and that is fair enough; the Oscar is routinely mistaken for cinema's highest honour. The academy, like the Hollywood system, is deeply discouraging to black American talent, and to a disturbing extent. The awards are few; decades pass between them. Hattie McDaniel won for her portrayal of a maid. Whoopi Goldberg for her portrayal of a con woman.