As we all know, February is black history month, and how fitting was it that new pages were added to the Black Excellence chronicles Sunday night at the 91st Academy Awards when several POC’s took home well-deserved oscars.
Among the first-time winners was Regina King, winning the first nomination of her 30+ years on camera for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Sharon Rivers in the Barry Jenkins directed film If Beale Street Could Talk based on the James Baldwin novel. Next up we have Black Panther, which in addition to being the first Marvel movie to win academy awards, was also responsible for giving two dedicated women their first oscars as well with lovely production designer Hannah Beachler winning for her work on the film and the legendary Ruth E. Carter winning audiences with her 30+ years in the business (and 2 prior nominations) and her mastery of creating the Wakandan outfits we so vividly remember. The former (Beachler) is actually the first black woman to have been nominated and have won an Academy Award for Best Production Design this year.
““It’s appropriate for me to be standing here, ’cause I’m an example of what it looks like when support and love is poured into someone. Mom, I love you much,” King said through tears. “Thank you for teaching me that God is leaning in my direction.”– Regina King accepting the award for Best Supporting Actress
History Made? Check.
Still, perhaps the most satisfying moment of the night had to be when highly acclaimed director Spike Lee won his first non-honorary Oscar for best Adapted Screenplay with his partner, Professor Kevin Willmott for the film BlacKkKlansman. I KNOW. FINALLY. (Tears may or may not have been shed). Peter Ramsey director, writer, and illustrator, represented in the field of animation because he and his partners took home the statue for Best Animated Feature for Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse. And last but not definitely not least for firsts, Rami Malek’s portrayal of the late Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody must have been extremely convincing to Academy members because he walked away with the award for Best Actor, his first nomination ever.
And as for the repeats, Mahershala Ali confirmed his acting prowess to the film world by nabbing his second supporting actor trophy for his portrayal as talented Don Shirley in Green Book. And veteran director and two-time Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron was the biggest winner that night, after his latest effort Roma won 3 of its 5 nominations for Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Cinematography. The man is seriously gifted. A sincere “Thank you” to these talented individuals for their wonderful performances.