Black Panther’s Oscar Win Is Definitely A Historical Moment for Black Women In Hollywood

Black Panther has already made Oscar history. On Sunday night, Hannah Beachler and Ruth Carter became the first African-American women to win the gold statuette for production design and costume design respectively.

It’s been more than three decades since such a feat was achieved by Irene Cara in 1984, who won for best original song, ‘Flashdance… What A Feeling’, which she co-wrote.

Beachler and Carter were instrumental in bringing to life the lush Wakanda, the fictional African country where most of ‘Black Panther’ takes place.
Carter, whose career stretches three decades, went to great lengths, like using a 3D printer, to authentically create costumes influenced by indigenous people across the African continent. Beachler’s mapping of Wakanda was essential in helping Carter execute that vision.
“I got it. Wow, this has been a long time coming,” Carter said as she took the stage to accept her award, and she did not lie. Carter earned her first Oscar nomination in 1993 for Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, and made history at the time as the first black person ever nominated in the category. Black Panther marks her third Oscar nomination. “Spike Lee, thank you for my start,” Carter told the director, who is nominated this year for BlacKkKlansman. “I hope this makes you proud.”


“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 Beachler’s acceptance speech, she paid tribute to the director of “Black Panther,” Ryan Coogler, along with Marvel, and Rachel Morrison, the film’s cinematographer, who last year became the first woman nominated for an Oscar in the cinematography category.

“I stand here stronger than I was yesterday,” Beachler said. “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.”

Beachler continued:

“I give this strength to all of those who come next. To keep going and never give up, 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.’”

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