With her win tonight for her work designing the costumes for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” legendary costume designer Ruth E. Carter becomes the first black woman to win two Academy Awards. She is also the first person to win in the category for both an original film and a sequel.
“Wow, nice to see you again,” she began her acceptance speech. “Thank you to the Academy for acknowledging to the superhero that she is a black woman. She endures, loves, wins. She is every woman in this movie. She’s my mother. Last week, Mabel Carter became an ancestor. This movie prepared me for this moment. Chadwick, please take care of mommy.”
Carter took home her first statue in 2019, becoming the first black person to win in the costume design category for “Black Panther.”
With his 2002 Oscar win for “Training Day,” Denzel Washington made history as the first black person to win two Oscars, following his 1990 win for “Glory.” Mahershala Ali is the only other black actor to take home two statuettes (for “Moonlight” in 2016 and “Green Book” two years later).
Earlier on the red carpet, Carter told The Times about her desire to take the “Black Panther” sequel’s costume design and the entire look of the film to another level. “Every time you see a new sequel in superhero movies, you see an improvement in the suits. So we update Wakanda. We introduced nine superheroes in this movie, we brought a new culture, the Talokan. We went underwater. The movie is very different, and bigger. It was intimidating to bring that into the second movie, but we were able to take it one step at a time to get there.”
Backstage in the press room, Carter shared this about his relationship with his mother, who recently died at 101: “In her later years, I had the same relationship I always had with her,” he said. “I was ride or die, I was her dog from her street, I was her partner. She always wanted me to follow my dream, even after graduating from college and… she didn’t quite know where she wanted to take the next step. So I know that she is proud of me. I know she wanted this for me as much as I wanted it for myself.”
Carter has been nominated for four Oscars throughout her decades-long career, including for “Malcolm X” (1992) and “Friendship” (1997).
The other nominees in the category were Catherine Martin (“Elvis”), Mary Zophres (“Babylon”), Jenny Beaven (“Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”) and Shirley Kurata (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
Times staff writer Amy Wong contributed to this report.