The first Black woman to receive several Oscars is Ruth E. Carter

The first Black woman to receive several Oscars is Ruth E. Carter

The first Black woman to receive several Oscars is Ruth E. Carter. The costume designer behind the “Black Panther” films became 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.”

Costume designer Ruth E. Carter just became the first Black woman to win two Oscars.

Carter won her second Oscar for costume design for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” In 2019, she became the first Black woman to win an Oscar in the category for her work on the first “Black Panther” film.

In her acceptance speech, Carter thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for “recognizing this superhero that is a Black woman.” She endures, she loves, she overcomes,” said Carter, dressed in a striking goldenrod gown, in an homage to the Black women she’s dressed in her work. “She is every woman in this film. She is my mother.”

Carter told the audience that her mother died earlier in the week at 101.

“This film prepared me for this moment,” she said, and then referenced the late “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020, and asked him to “please take care of mom.”

The acclaimed costumer was previously nominated for Oscars for her work in Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad.”

Only four other Black Oscar winners have earned multiple statues in competitive categories – actors Denzel Washington and Mahershala Ali and sound mixers Willie D. Burton and Russell Williams II.

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The first Black woman to receive several Oscars is Ruth E. Carter
The first Black woman to receive several Oscars is Ruth E. Carter

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One of Carter’s earliest roles was on 1989’s Do the Right Thing, directed by Spike Lee – who has become one of her longtime collaborators over a three-decade career.

“When we made that film, we were seeing a future of Black people in storytelling,” Carter told the Guardian in a 2021 interview. “It was a forward-thinking idea when we made that film.”

Her work on Black Panther has been acclaimed for its Afrofuturist take on superhero costumes, drawing from Indigenous influences across the African continent and imbuing them with a technological bent to tell the tale of fictional kingdom Wakanda, a world power that has remained hidden from the rest of the globe.

“The opportunity to infuse the different cultures around Africa was a huge honor,” she said. “I felt there were still people who have this backwards mindset that Africa is just one monolithic place, people living in huts with flies on their faces.”


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