Ruth E. Carter Makes History: The Costume Designer of the “Black Panther” Films Becomes the First Black Woman to Win Two Oscars.
Carter took home best costume design Sunday night at the 95th Academy Awards for the Marvel sequel “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Carter also won for “Black Panther” in 2018, making him the first African American to win in the category.
In his acceptance speech, Carter thanked the film’s director Ryan Coogler and asked if “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman could take care of his mother, Mabel Carter, whom he said “died last week.” ” Boseman died of cancer in 2020 at the age of 43.
“This is for my mom. She was 101,” Carter said. “This movie prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of mom.”
Carter paid tribute to his mother backstage.
“I had a great relationship with him during his last years. The same relationship that I always had with him. I was his ride-or-die. I was his road dog. I was his sidekick,” she said. “I know she’s proud of me. I know she wanted me as much as I wanted me.
‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ grapples with the loss of its superhero Boseman.
In her career, Carter has been behind the scenes on some of Hollywood’s biggest films. She received Oscar nominations for her work in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” and in other projects such as Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” Ava DuVernay’s “Selma,” and “K Reboot.” Praised for Roots. He has created costumes for Oprah Winfrey, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy and even Jerry Seinfeld for the “Seinfeld” pilot.
Carter played an influential role as lead costume designer in making “Black Panther” a cultural phenomenon, as he influenced the African diaspora’s pride in the character’s stylish and colorful clothing to help bring Wakanda to life. She wanted to change the appearance of Queen Ramonda – played by Oscar nominee Angela Bassett – from being a queen in the first film to being a ruler in the sequel.
“Angela always wanted to play a queen, so to enhance that, we added vibranium … We painted her the royal color of purple, and decked her out in gold, because she wore the crown at the United Nations,” Carter said. Said. “When she sits on the throne, she’s in a gray dress. The exposed shoulders show her strength – Angela, she took those guns, didn’t she?”
Carter said she was able to pick up the win against a “tough lineup”. She was up against the designers of “Elvis,” “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris,” “Everywhere Everything Together,” and “Babylon.”
She made her debut in 1988 with the director’s second film, “School Days”. They have since collaborated on over 10 films, including “Do the Right Thing” and “Jungle Fever”. She has also collaborated with Robert Townsend on “The Five Heartbeats” and “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” with Keenan Ivory Wayans.
Carter said, “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps.” “I started out in a single-parent household. I wanted to be a costume designer. I studied. I scraped by. I battled adversity in an industry that sometimes didn’t look like me. And I endured.
Through the Oscar-nominated “Malcolm X,” she soared to new heights. That film, starring Denzel Washington, inspired her into “Hollywood makeup”, which gave her more opportunities to work with directors who had different approaches and scripts.
Carter wishes her historic Sunday victory would provide more opportunities for women of color.
“I hope it opens the door for others … that they too can win an Oscar,” Carter said.