Ruth E. Carter Creates History at the Oscars by becoming the 1st Black woman to win 2 Oscars.
Ruth E. Carter has created history: The movie “Black Panther’s” costume designer became the first Black woman to win two Oscars.
At the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday night, Carter took home the best costume design for the Marvel sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
Ruth E. Carter Creates History At The Oscars
Carter also won in 2018 for “Black Panther,” making her the first African American to win.
In her acceptance speech, Carter thanked the film’s director Ryan Coogler and asked if “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman could look after her mother, Mabel Carter, who she said died “this past week.” Boseman died in 2020 of cancer at 43.
Carter said, “This is for my mother. She was 101.” “This film prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of mom.”
The Oscar award winner designer then paid homage to her mother backstage.
“I had a great relationship with her in her final years. The same relationship I always had with her. I was her ride-or-die. I was her road dog. I was her sidekick,” she said. “I know she’s proud of me. I know that she wanted this for me as much as I wanted it for myself.”
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” wrestled with the despair of losing its superhero, Boseman.
In some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, Carter has been behind-the-scenes in her career. She’s received Oscar nominations for her work in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad”, and Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X”.
She has been widely praised for her period costumes in other projects such as Ava DuVernay’s “Selma”, Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” and the reboot of “ROOTS.” She’s designed costumes for Denzel Washington, Oprah Winfrey, Eddie Murphy and even Jerry Seinfeld for the “Seinfeld” pilot.
To make “Black Panther” a cultural phenomenon, Carter has played an influential role as a lead costume designer by infusing the pride of the African diaspora into the character’s stylish and colorful garments to help bring Wakanda to life. She envisioned transforming the presence of Queen Ramonda, played by Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, into a queen in the first film to be a ruler in the sequel.
Carter said, “Angela always wanted to play a queen, so to amplify her, we added vibranium … we gave her the royal colour of purple, and adorned her in gold as she wore the crown at the UN,”. “When she sits on the throne, she’s in a gray one-shouldered dress. The exposed shoulder shows her strength — Angela, she got those guns, right?”
She said she could pull off the win against a “tough lineup.” She was up against designers from “Elvis,” “Mrs Harris Goes to Paris,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and “Babylon.”
Carter started in 1988 in Lee’s “School Daze,” the director’s second film. Since then, she has worked with him on more than ten films, including “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever.” She’s also worked with Robert Townsend on “The Five Heartbeats” and Keenen Ivory Wayans on “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.”
“I pulled myself up from my bootstraps,” Carter said. “I started in a single parent household. I wanted to be a costume designer. I studied. I scraped. I struggled with adversity in an industry that sometimes didn’t look like me. And I endured.”
Carter reached new heights through the Oscar-nominated “Malcolm X.” That film, starring Denzel Washington, pushed her into the “Hollywood makeup,” offering her more possibilities to function with directors with different points of view and scripts.
Carter hopes her historic win Sunday will offer more opportunities to women of color.
Carter added, “I hope this opens the door for others … that they can win an Oscar, too,”