Ruth E. Carter, a Hampton University alumna, is officially an Academy Award winner! Carter took home the Oscar in the Best Costume Design category for her work in the 2018 film, “Marvel’s Black Panther,” at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday, February 24. Carter’s win makes her the first African-American to win in the Costume Design category. It’s also the first ever Oscar for Marvel Studios.
“We could not be more excited for Ruth Carter’s historic Academy Award win for her work in ‘Black Panther.’ Her win will surely inspire our students and other African-American men and women to Dream No Small Dreams. Ms. Carter is a true superstar and role model. Congratulations!” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Carter is the first African-American costume designer to be nominated for an Academy Award. Carter received nominations for Best Costume Design for Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” in 1993 and Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” in 1998. Carter’s win made her the second black woman to ever win an Oscar outside of the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories.
“I got it! This has been a long time coming. Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African King. It’s been my life’s honor to create costumes. Thank you to the Academy, thank you for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead on screen,” said Carter during her acceptance speech at the 2019 Academy Awards. “Thank you to our genius director, Ryan Cooglar. You are a guiding force. Thank you for your trust and understanding my role in telling the African American story.”
Carter majored in Theatre Arts and has worked in the entertainment industry for over three decades since graduating from Hampton University in 1982. Carter’s unparalleled ability to develop an authentic story through costume and character has made her one of the most sought after and renowned costume designers today. Carter also served as the keynote speaker at Hampton University’s 148th Commencement Ceremony in 2018.
Over Carter’s three decades in entertainment, she has worked with some of the top directors in Hollywood including Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, Reggie Hudlin, Steven Spielberg and now Ryan Cooglar. “Black Panther” also won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Production Design. The film received a total of seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and grossed a worldwide total of $1.347 billion.