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Wakanda Forever: Black Actors, Film Crew Make History and Win Big at 2019 Oscars

"It just means that we've opened the door," said veteran costume designer Ruth E. Carter

Black actors and creative professionals working behind the scenes made history at the 91st Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. 

After three decades in the film industry, Ruth E. Carter became the first African American to win an Academy Award for costume design with her Afro-futuristic wardrobes in "Black Panther." The win gave Marvel Studios its first Oscar. 

“Marvel may have created the first black superhero, but through costume design we turned him into an African king,” Carter said in her acceptance speech.

Hannah Beachler and Jay Hart won for their production design on "Black Panther." Beachler and Carter became just the second and third black women to win non-acting Oscars. Beachler is the first African American to ever be nominated in the category. 

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"It just means that we've opened the door," Carter told the Associated Press. "Finally, the door is wide open."

Spike Lee won his first Oscar for adapted screenplay for "BlacKkKlansman." He had been nominated five times before. After walking on stage to accept the award, Lee jumped on presenter Samuel L. Jackson, wrapping his legs around Jackson and gave him a big hug. 

"Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let's do the right thing," Lee said when accepting his award. 

Lee gave Carter her start in the film industry as she designed the costumes for "School Daze" and "Do the Right Thing." She was just recognized with a career achievement award at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards last week.

Peter Ramsey received recognition for bringing a classic character -- Spider-Man -- in animated form to the screen. Ramsey is the first black director to win an Oscar for best animated feature with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse."

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Mahershala Ali won a best supporting Oscar for his role as a pianist who hired a white chauffeur to drive him on tour in "Green Book." It's his second win in the category. He first won a best supporting Oscar for "Moonlight" in 2016. Ali is the first African American man to win two best supporting Oscars. 

Regina King scored a noteworthy Oscar and her first nomination for best supporting actress for her performance in "If Beale Street Could Talk." 

Social media celebrated the record-breaking wins, acknowledging a stark contrast from recent years when #OscarsSoWhite populated timelines in protest to the lack of diversity representation in Hollywood. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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