#ThrowbackThursday: Rita Moreno, 1961

Rita Moreno, 1961 (Pinterest)

Actress Rita Moreno poses with her Oscar after she was named best supporting actress at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on April 9, 1962. She won for her roll in “West Side Story

In 1961, actress Rita Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anita in “West Side Story.” She was the first Latina actress to win that award.

Moreno didn’t stop there: In 1975, she won the Tony for Best Supporting Actress for “The Ritz.” And she was the first Latina actress to win that award as well.

Two years later, Moreno became the second person ever to achieve the EGOT: winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. She’s continued working steadily and blazing trails today.

Viola Davis is the First African-American Woman to Win the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Emmy-winning actress Viola Davis (NY Daily News)

Acclaimed actress Viola Davis made history last night when she became the first African-American actress to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. Davis plays lawyer and law professor Annalise Keating in ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” now in its second season.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is finally beginning to recognize more diverse talent. Davis was up against Taraji P. Henson for “Empire,” which was the first time two Black women were nominated in the same category. Davis acknowledged Henson and 2013 and 2014 nominee Kerry Washington in her acceptance speech.

Some context for this win and occasion: The category has been awarded since 1953. Debbie Allen was the first Black woman nominated in the category in 1982. It begs the question: what took so long?!