Ruth E. Carter Becomes First Black Woman to Win More Than One Oscar

by Xara Aziz

Legendary costume designer Ruth E. Carter officially made history Sunday evening after becoming the first Black woman to win multiple Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards.

Carter won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for her work on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She had previously won the award for her work on the first Black Panther film.

Carter now joins a small group of other Black actors who have won multiple Oscars.

Denzel Washington, Willie D. Burton, Russel Williams II and Mahershala Ali have all accomplished the same feat.

In her acceptance speech, Carter praised her mother stating “thank you to the Academy for recognizing the superhero that is a Black woman. She endures, she loves, she overcomes, she is every woman in this film. She is my mother.”

She continued: “This past week, Mabel Carter became an ancestor. This film prepared me for this moment. Chadwick [Boseman], please take care of mom,” she added, making mention of the late Black Panther star. “This is for my mother. She was 101.”

The 62-year-old Massachusetts native began her career over 30 years ago and has effortlessly risen the ranks to become one of the best costume designers in Hollywood.  

She has been nominated four times for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, including for her work on Spike Lee’s biographical film Malcolm X and Steven Spielberg’s award-winning film Amistad. Her most recent win also makes her the first African-American to win an Academy Award in the Best Costume Design category.

The designer currently has an exhibit at the North Carolina Museum of Art, which displays more than 60 of her original garments. She is also known for her work on What’s Love Got to Do with It, Serenity, Four Brothers, Sparkle, The Butler and Selma. In 2021, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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