Black Panther colleagues Ruth Carter and Hannah Beachler made history at the 91st Oscars: They were the first black people to win Oscars in their respective categories.
Ruth E. Carter became the first black woman to take home an Oscar in the category of Best Costume Design, and moments later, Hannah Beachler became the first black woman to take home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Production Design, an award she shared with Jay Hart. It’s been 3 whole decades since a black woman won an Oscar in a non-acting category since Irene Cara in 1984, who won for best original song, “Flashdance…What A Feeling,”
— Black Panther (@theblackpanther) February 25, 2019
“This has been a long time coming,”
Carter said in her acceptance speech.
She had been nominated twice before: ‘Amistad’ (1997) and ‘Malcolm X’ (1992). (‘Malcolm X’ was directed by Spike Lee, who was up for multiple Oscars of his own Sunday.) She went on to pay tribute to the significance of Black Panther‘s depiction of T’Challa and his kingdom of Wakanda.
“Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king,” Carter added. “It’s been my life’s honor to create costumes. Thank you to the academy. Thank you for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead on screen.
In her emotional speech, Beachler paid tribute to Black Panther director Ryan Coogler—who did not receive a nomination for Best Director—and to cinematographer Rachel Morrison.
“I stand here stronger than I was yesterday,”
“I stand here with agency and self-worth because of [Black Panther director] Ryan Coogler—who not only made me a better designer, a better storyteller, a better person. I stand here because of this man who offered me a different perspective of life. Who offered me a safe space. Who is patient and gave me air, humanity, and brotherhood. Thank you, Ryan, I love you.
“I give the strength to all of those who come next, to keep going, to never give up,” Beachler said. “And when you think it’s impossible, just remember to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough.”