Ruth E. Carter Becomes First Black Woman to Win Two Oscars

The costume designer won an Academy Award for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” adding to the history-making Oscar she won for the original “Black Panther” in 2019.

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By Kalia Richardson

Ruth E. Carter, tasked with crafting the Afrofuturist costumes in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” took home her second Oscar on Sunday night for costume design. Carter, who also won a statue for the 2018 film “Black Panther,” is not only the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards, but she is also the first person to win for both the original and the sequel of a movie. Onstage, she greeted audiences with a “Nice to see you again,” and thanked the academy for “recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman,” she said. “She endures, she loves, she overcomes.”

Carter made history as the first Black woman to win an Oscar for costume design in 2019; she had received earlier nominations for Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad.” Denzel Washington was the first Black man to win two Oscars — one in 1990 for “Glory” and another in 2002 for “Training Day.”

As the sole winner among the film’s five nominations, Carter paid tribute to her mother, who died at age 101 last week, and asked the actor Chadwick Boseman, who played King T’Challa in the original film and died in 2020, to watch over the matriarch.

Carter credited “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” which includes a celebratory procession of music and dance after the death of King T’Challa, with helping her prepare for her mother’s death. In the film, Carter employed 3-D printing technology to create the halo-like crown worn by Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and found inspiration in African Indigenous tribes to design the clothing. Carter also thanked the director Ryan Coogler, and one of the film’s producers, Nate Moore, for their vision. “Together, we are reshaping how culture is represented.”

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