Whoopi Goldberg bitterly criticized The New York Times on Monday morning’s The View for not mentioning that she had won an Oscar in a Sunday piece about the paucity of black actors who have won Academy Awards.
Goldberg, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the 1990 film Ghost, said, “I am embarrassed to tell you it hurt me terribly.” She was referring to a piece titled “Hollywood’s Whiteout,” written by film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott. The piece lamented the lack of Oscar nominations and wins for black actors, noting that Denzel Washington and Halle Berry had won Oscars nine years ago. “Real change seemed to have come to movies or at least the Academy, which had given statuettes to a total of seven black actors in the previous 73 years,” the authors wrote. “After Mr. Washington and Ms. Berry, there would be Jamie Foxx, Forest Whitaker (both Best Actors), Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor), Jennifer Hudson, and Mo’Nique (Best Supporting Actresses).”
It was Barbara Walters who raised the subject on The View, saying she was “troubled” by the omission of Goldberg in the piece.
Goldberg brought her Oscar onstage and put it on the View desk. She spoke of her pain “to have been dismissed and erased by the New York Times film critics.”
“It’s hard not to take it personally,” said Goldberg. “People in Somalia know [I've won an Oscar]; people in China know,” she said. Addressing the Times, Goldberg said, “You’re supposed to be better than this. This is not some newspaper from Hoochie-Coochie Land.” “Dammit, get your facts straight!” she concluded.
But I think there may be a misunderstanding here. The Times writers referred to black actors in the “previous 73 years” — i.e., before Washington and Berry’s 2002 win. The actors listed above were the ones who’ve won after that. Goldberg would have been among those previous, pre-2002 Oscar winners. True, the Times‘ phrasing is prolix, but not incorrect. My interpretation is echoed by the Times response below.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck said she had canceled her subscription to the Times in protest.
UPDATE: THE NEW YORK TIMES RESPONDS
A spokesperson for The New York Times responded to EW:
“The error lies with those who are reading the story incorrectly. The point of the piece was not to name every black actor or actress who has been awarded an Oscar, it was to draw a comparison between the number who won prior to 2002 (the year Halle Berry and Denzel Washington won) and those who have won since. And the story states very clearly that in 73 years, prior to 2002, only seven black actors/actresses won Oscars.”