Black Panther’s costume designer Ruth Carter took home the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
Carter beat out Sandy Powell, who was nominated for both The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns. She also beat Mary Queen of Scots’ Alexandra Byrne and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ Mary Zophres.
Carter thanked Spike Lee for giving her start. She would go on to say, “Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design we turned him into an African king.”
Costume designer @iamRuthECarter on #BlackPanther: “Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king.” https://t.co/I1ZkzK7cSQ #oscars pic.twitter.com/C7ViQBdVVx
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 25, 2019
Carter would joke that adding vibranium to the costumes “is very expensive.”
Carter would state, “My career is built with passion to tell stories to allow us to know ourselves better. This is for my 97-year-old mother watching in Massachusetts. Mom, thank you for teaching me about people and their stories. You are the original superhero. Thank you!”
#RuthCarter won best hair & costume!
“Putting vibraium in costumes is very expensive” 😂
The first award of the night! For black panther and first AA to win this award too 🎉#oscars #WakandaForever #BlackPanther pic.twitter.com/m3mr6lFtUE
— Celestial Policeman 👮🏾♂️ (@darnellydaniels) February 25, 2019
Carter spoke about the process of joining Black Panther and Marvel Studioes with Fast Company:
“I’m used to coming into a blank slate, but they definitely have a roadmap. So I had to get myself together and get on the road. I felt like whatever they gave me to create and make from their model, I was okay with it because there was so much more. We were creating a universe. I was happy to receive four or five characters kind of already in development, and they were open to what I could bring to those sketches.”
She would describe the costume design as “daunting” at first.
“At first it was daunting to be in a place that was so specific. You know you’re a contributor, but you just don’t really know how at first because they’re doing stuff that you normally do. And it wasn’t until I got to the end of the journey that I realized my contribution.”
Carter would go into detail about her designs for the Dora Milaje, “We didn’t want them to be these sexy girls walking around with a guy in a bulletproof catsuit. We wanted them to be serious fighters.”
She would add, “This tabard that falls down the front of the body needs to have some kind of meaning.” She would point to the Japanese samurai as an influence, “Just like the samurai warriors that hand down their armor that stands the test of time for centuries, I felt like there needed to be a little bit of that in the spirit of this costume,”
Black Panther was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Costume Design, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Best Picture, Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.