What A Historic Night For Marvel At The Oscars!
Last night, Marvel, which is reaching 80 this year, received not only its first Oscar, but took home four - three for Black Panther and one for Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse.
Black Panther, which received 7 Academy Award nominations, took home awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Score while Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse took home Best Animated Feature.
While Black Panther didn't win Best Picture, I still think it deserved it and I have previously written why. But, this does not detract from what a historic night it was for the comic book power house!
Starting off, Ruth E. Carter won the award for Best Costume Design and served as the first ever win for Marvel. Carter, who has been working for 30 years and previously been nominated for Amistad and Malcom X, is the first African American to win in this category!
“Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design, we turned him into an African king,” Carter said. “It’s been my life’s honor to create costumes. Thank you to the Academy, and thank you for honoring African royalty and the empowered way women can look and lead on screen.”
She also thanked director Ryan Coogler as well as to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Disney CEO Bob Iger because "adding Vibranium to costumes is very expensive." LOL!
Carter's costumes were simply gorgeous in Black Panther from the beautifully color coordinated clothing of the Wakandan tribes to the wonderful royal dresses Queen Ramonda (Angela Bassett) wore. I remember the scene at the falls and all the beautiful costumes and how powerful it all looked.
Next up was the award for Best Production Design going to Hannah Beachler along with set designer Jay Hart. Beachler was the first African American to be nominated for and win Best Production Design.
In a very wonderfully emotional speech, she heaped praise on Coogler. "I stand here stronger than I was yesterday," she said. "I stand here with agency and self worth because of Ryan Coogler, who not only made me a better designer, a better storyteller, a better person, I stand here because of this man who offered me a different perspective of life, who offered me a safe space, whose patience gave me air. Thank you, Ryan. I love you."
The production design for Black Panther is bar none. While the lavishness of T'Challa's palace is stunning, the set that most hit me as a visual feast was when T'Challa and Nakia wandered through the town. It just felt like everything every day life in Wakanda should be with its blend of traditional Africa and Afro-futurism.
Ludwig Göransson then won the award for Best Score. Göransson, who has known Coogler since their college days, waxed nostalgic. "Ryan, working with you has been an incredible honor," he said. "I remember 12 years ago, we were sitting in our dorm at USC and we were writing the score for your first short film and we're here 12 years later."
Honestly, I love the score to Black Panther and listen to it all the time. There is an amazing blend of orchestral and traditional African instruments. Göransson traveled to Africa to research the music and even collaborated with African music artists to bring this fantastic sound to the movie.
Finally, while Sony still owns the film rights to Spider-Man, the win for Best Animated Feature is still a coup for Marvel. In a category that included Pixar's The Incredibles 2 and Disney's Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, it was quite incredible that a film about a multicultural superhero of color would take home the award.
Peter Ramsey , one of the co-directors of the film, became the first African American man to win in this category. He talked about how important it was for Miles Morales to be a role model. Ramsey said, "It means a lot for young black and Latino kids to see themselves up onscreen in these iconic, heroic, mythic stories ... It's a need being fulfilled."
Producer and co-director Phil Lord said, "When we hear that somebody's kid saw the movie and turned to them and said 'he looks like me' or 'they speak Spanish like us,' we feel like we already won."
While its hard to not see a Disney film win for Best Animated Feature, I truly believe that Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse was the best animated feature, especially for all the reasons brought up by both Ramsey and Lord. You can read my review for the movie for my expanded thoughts.
So, congratulation, Marvel, for such a monumental night! What a great way to celebrate turning 80!