Hairstyle File: The Evolution of Black Hair at the Oscars

With the Academy Awards airing on March 7th, Hollywood is positively aflutter with Oscar fever--and so are we! The top hairstylists in the world are descending upon the city, working with stars' glam squads to come up with the hottest hairstyles for the movie industry's biggest night of the year. Let's take a look back at some standout black hair moments on the Academy Awards red carpet.
ESSENCE.COM Feb, 16, 2010

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Thanks to her unforgettable performance in 1954’"Carmen Jones," Dorothy Dandridge was the first Black woman ever to be nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. She ultimately lost the award, but she made history that night—and her carefully curled coif was fabulous!

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Nominated for a 1973 Best Actress Oscar for her work in “Sounder,” Cicely Tyson hit the red carpet in a blazingly chic bouffant bun.

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Diahann Carroll swanned into the 1975 Oscars rocking major fur, luxe lashes, and a fluffed-and-curled diva ’do. She was nominated for Best Actress for her role in “Claudine.”

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Diana Ross arrived at the 1981 Academy Awards ceremony rocking her signature larger-than-life, frizzy-on-purpose mane—and a baby-faced Michael Jackson on her arm.

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Jasmine Guy rocked her “Whitley Gilbert” natural curls (properly moussed-and-scrunched, early ’90s style) at the 1991 Academy Awards ceremony. That year, she sang and danced the Debbie Allen-produced opening number.

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At the ‘94 Oscars, Janet Jackson’s long, flowing auburn extensions were almost as radiant as her fab makeup job.

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At the ’95 Oscars, former Best Actress nominee Angela Bassett heated up the red carpet with her chic pixie crop.

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We loved Vanessa Williams’ hair look at the ’96 Academy Awards! You can never go wrong with a sleek, golden-streaked blowout with a slight bend on the ends. Brava.

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The battle of the dueling divas! At the 1999 Oscar ceremony, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston famously sang a duet of “When You Believe.” Their vocals were on point—and so was their hair! Mariah wore vintage 1940’s-style waves, and Whitney went for a 1920’s flapper look.

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Halle Berry hit the 2001 Oscar red carpet with a head full of darling, every-which-way pixie curls.

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At the ’05 Oscars, Nicole Richie channeled 1940s sirens like Lana Turner with her glamorous, wavy bob.

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Beyonce enjoyed a high-glamour moment at the 2005 Oscars with this backcombed, half-up/half-down moment.

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Sanaa Lathan hit the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar bash wearing soft, glossy curls and a pompadoured bang.

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Alicia Keys and Taraji P. Henson rocked the 2009 Oscar red carpet with their sweeping, strapless gowns and glossy, expertly styled hair. Alicia’s rippling waves recalled the glamour of 1940s movie stars, while Taraji’s sleek, mid-length bob was very ’60s mod.

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Paula Patton’s proves that ponytails never go out of style, rocking a side-swept pony finished off with loose waves. While this do is very simple, it’s also simply gorgeous!

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Mo’Nique’s elegant updo was totally dazzling and we adored the floral accent as well.

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Pulled back hair was all the rage at the 2010 Oscars. Zoe Saldana rocked the trend with her sophisticated bun.

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A newcomer to the red-carpet, Gabourey Sidibe looked lovely in layers accented with long, flowing curls.