Women Making History at the Movies

Erin Oliver, Editor

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African American females have recently made more prominent marks on Hollywood and in cinema production. As millions of Americans tuned into this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony, much of the media and public is buzzed about Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance and of the Best Picture Winner The Green Book. While these were notable aspects of the ceremony, it is most remarkable of how many African American women received awards, especially in light of Black History Month.

Many are familiar with the widely successful Marvel film Black Panther. While the film took away three awards last Sunday, two of those came from African American women. Both women were the first African American women to succeed in their categories.

Ruth E. Carter won the category of Best Costume Design. “I got it. Wow, this has been a long time coming,” she expressed on stage (Msn.com). Carter was referring to her nomination back in 1993 for the film Malcolm X. She then thanked Spike Lee for his commitment to her, who directed the film BlacKkKlansman that was nominated for Best Picture. Carter was dressed in an elegant navy gown with puffy sleeves and a statement silver necklace.

Hannah Beachler won the award for Best Achievement in Production Design. When giving her speech, she exclaimed, “I give the strength to all those who come next, to keep going, to never give up,” (Msn.com). Bleacher appeared in a coral single sleeve gown on the red carpet.

Another extremely notable victory went to Regina King, who achieved Best Supporting Actress for If Beale Street Could Talk. Although King has appeared in past films such as Ray and Miss Congeniality 2, this was her first ever nomination for an Oscar.

King is known for her activism in fighting AIDS and support of the Test 1 Million campaign. She is also noted for her pledge during the last Golden Globes Awards ceremony, where she promised, “In the next two years…I’m making a vow—and it’s going to be tough—to make sure that everything I produce is 50 percent women,” (News.yahoo.com).

While Hollywood has been dominated in the past by white cast and crew members, women like Carter, Bleacher, and King are proof that diversity in the cinema is beyond necessary and imperative for a successful film. Because of the work of women like these three, Hollywood has become a more welcoming arena for appreciating differences in the culture. It is important to recognize the strives made by people like these women and to continue in the fight for fairness in film.