Oscar Makes History: Ruth Carter, Regina King, Hannah Beachler, Spike Lee Take Home Oscars

With a perfect paring of presenters, a shorter running time and humorous dialogues, history was once again made as Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American women to win for costume design and production design, respectively and Spike Lee, despite having an honorary Oscar, finally won an actual one for Best Adapted Screenplay which he shared with Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmot for “Blackklansman.”

Amatus Sami-Karim and Mahershala Ali
Amatus Sami-Karim and Mahershala Ali

“I dreamed of this night.  I dreamed of this night and I prayed for this night.” Carter, a previous Oscar nominee told reporters backstage. “Not only just for being a hard‑working costume designer, but what it would mean for young people coming behind me, because, you know, this came from grass roots,” added Carter who has worked with Spike Lee on over ten films together beginning with “School Daze,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Malcolm X” and “Old Boy.”

Alfonso Cuarón of Mexico accepts the Oscar® for best foreign language film
Alfonso Cuarón of Mexico accepts the Oscar® for best foreign language film

Child actress and director Regina King received her first Oscar for the dramatic and touching drama “If Beale Street Could Talk,” a screen adaptation of James Baldwin’s book about a black man accused of raping a white woman. “It means so much for me personally. I’ve had so many women that have paved the way, are paving the way, and I feel like I walk in their light, and I also am creating my own light.  And there are young women that will walk in the light that I’m continuing to shine and expand from those women before me,” King shared backstage.

Oscar® nominee Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee
Oscar® nominee Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee

Beachler became the first-ever black designer to receive a Best Production Design nomination while Mahershala Ali took home his second Oscar in the supporting category for movie “Green Book” and dedicated his Oscar to his grandmother. The actor previously won a supporting Oscar for “Moonlight” and while onstage thanked Dr. Don Shirley, the Jamaican musical prodigy he portrayed in the film.  He is now the second black actor, in Oscar history to win two trophies for acting.

Angela Bassett and Javier Bardem

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won Best Animated movie, as predicted, beating out “Incredibles”and earning co-director Peter Ramsey a historic win as the first African-America director of an animated movie to win an Oscar.

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga

Backstage Ramsey talked about the incredible response received since the movie’s release last year. “People have reached out to us about this movie, none of us have ever been through anything like the experience of after our movie came out and people would reach out to us and what they say, what they feel, and we feel very close to those people, and that is very addictive and that is why we do this, because we want to feel closer to people and we want people to feel closer to each other.”

Barry Jenkins
Barry Jenkins (R)

Other big winners included Alfonso Cuarón’s  “Roma” a semi-autobiographical reflection of his childhood in Mexico City which received 3 Oscars. Cuarón won for both Best Director and Best Cinematography and Best Foreign-Language Film. “Green Book” earned Oscars for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Queen biopic, received a Best Actor nod for its star Rami Malek who played the band’s leader Freddie Mercury.

Meagan Good (R) and DeVon Franklin (L)
Meagan Good (R) and DeVon Franklin (L)

History was previously made at 89th Oscar nominations ceremony as black actors were nominated in every acting category since the Oscar’s nomination history with Joi McMillon became the first African-American woman to be recognized by the Academy for editing.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is an entertainment industry specialist and contributes to Trendy Africa Magazine from Los Angeles. Photos courtesy of A.M.P.A.S & Royalty Images

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