The 2019 Oscars set the record for recognizing the achievements of African American artists, and with that it became a night of firsts for many. And although it was historic in that sense, it also reflected the other side of “OurStory” as it related to the overall pace of our inclusion.
In the Academy’s 89-year history, only 39 Oscars have been given to Black actors and actresses. Keeping it all in perspective, here is what we celebrated several nights ago!
Ruth E. Carter won her first Oscar for best costume design for “Black Panther” it was the first time in history an African American won in this category. Another first for the film Black Panther was Hanna Beachler, the first Black women to win a non- acting Oscar in the category of production design. One of the most indelible winners of the night was Director Spike Lee who snagged his first competitive Academy Award in the adapted screenplay category, for co-writing “BlacKkKlansman” along with with Kevin Willmott, who is also Black
The power and grace of Regina King got her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Mahershala Ali took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “The Green Book” that surprisingly won for Best Feature Film.
The Oscar for Best animated feature went to the director of Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse, Peter Ramsey, who is the first African American to win in that category.
The night made a much-needed mark in history for all of the hard work and effort put forth by the community of Black actors in Hollywood, with three of the four acting prizes being awarded to non-White actors plus a record of 15 women awarded for their achievements.
Bravo to Black Excellence and congratulations to these well-deserved Oscar recipients.
Let’s hope the Academy continues to grow in their effort to recognize the talents of Black and other non-White contributors, makers and innovators in the motion picture arts every year.
*Did You Know: In December 2018 former president and COO of LA Sparks, Christine Simmons was named to the position of Chief Operating Officer for the academy of Motion Picture Arts.
Oscar Micheaux, the pre-eminent African-American filmmaker of the 20th century’s first half and the first African-American to write, direct and produce a full-length feature film, would be prou