Marvel's blockbuster superhero movie opened the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday collecting wins for Best Costume Design for costume designer Ruth E. Carter and Best Production Design for production designer Hannah Beachler, beating out competition from the likes of The Favourite and Mary Poppins Returns. ComposerLudwig Goransson also won the Oscar for Best Original Score. These wins are historic for the film and its studio, marking Marvel's first-ever Academy Awards victories.
For Carter, this is the first time a black woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Costume Design.
With Beachler's win, this is also the first time a black woman has ever won the Oscar for Best Production Design. Carter and Beachler are also only the second and third black women to ever win an Oscar outside of the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories.
No matter which way you slice it, these are stunning achievements for the Black Panther team.
"This has been a long time coming," Carter said onstage, while basking in her much-deserved Oscar moment. Carter had been nominated twice before in the category, in 1998 for Amistad and in 1993 for Malcolm X.
" [Being the first black person to win this award] means that we’ve opened up the door. Finally the door is wide open," Carter said backstage following her historic moment. "I’ve been struggling, digging deep, mentoring, whatever I could to raise others up… this means there is hope and other people can come on in and win an Oscar just like I did."
Beachler felt a similar moment of bliss on Sunday night.
"I did my best, and my best was good enough!" Beachler emotionally said onstage during her acceptance speech, as she collected her honor. "I stand here stronger than I was yesterday." This was Beachler's first Oscar nomination, shared with set decorator Jay Hart. Beachler was also the first black production designer on a Marvel film.
Backstage, Beachler tearfully recalled the best piece of advice she received, from Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, backstage following her historic win.
"The advice that changed everything for me was when I arrived in Oakland all those years ago with Ryan," she said, getting emotional. "He said, 'You know what, be honest and be truthful and be you. If you’re not yourself, this is not going to work.'"
She also shared the wisdom she'd tell her younger self: "You are doing the right thing. Fear not, because tomorrow is yours."
ET sat down with Carter recently, where she spoke of her inspiration and gave insight into the stunning, culturally specific Black Panther costumes.
“We really supported each other. It really is rewarding, in the end, to see what we were able to do," Carter said. "Usually, it’s a man’s world in the comics, especially with superheroes. It’s a really fascinating place and we were able to sort of discover it [through this film].”
Beachler also discussed paving a new path for production designers on big-budget movies moving forward. She was the first black production designer ever to work on a Marvel film.
“[I hope] this opens the door for people to actually open their eyes to the talent and the women of color that are designers,” Beacher told The Root. “There’s talent there and that you have to give the opportunity. You can’t just keep going to the same people over and over again.”