In the Academy Awards’ 90-year history, just nine black women have won Oscars. But here’s where it gets worse: Only one of those nine won in a non-acting category, Irene Cara, who co-wrote Best Original Song winner “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from “Flashdance” (1983). Cara could get some long overdue company this year from three people — all from the same film, “Black Panther.”
Three of “Black Panther”‘s seven nominations include black women as part of its nominees: Hannah Beachler is up for Best Production Design; Ruth E. Carter earned her third career Best Costume Design bid; and SZA co-wrote Best Original Song contender “All the Stars” with Kendrick Lamar, Sounwave and Anthony Tiffith.
Not only is Beachler the first African-American woman to be nominated for Best Production Design, but she’s the first African-American ever to be shortlisted in the category. Carter broke down that barrier in her category with her nomination for “Malcolm X” (1992); she earned another one for “Amistad” (1998). Sharen Davis has been the only other black Best Costume Design nominee, for “Ray” (2004) and “Dreamgirls” (2006), so Carter would make history as its first black winner.
Carter, Beachler and SZA are three of just 18 black women who’ve received Oscar nominations in non-acting, non-gendered categories. (Best Supporting Actress is the most fruitful category for black women, with seven winners.) Their trifecta of nominations come just a year after “Mudbound” scored bids for Mary J. Blige, Dee Rees and songwriter Taura Stinson. More than half of these nominations has occurred this century, especially in the last few years as the academy has committed to diversifying its membership, so it certainly feels like a second win will finally occur sooner rather than later. Perhaps even this year.
Carter and Beachler are in tight races, both sitting in second place behind “The Favourite” in our respective combined odds. The majority of our Experts is backing “Black Panther” in both races. “All the Stars” is also in second place in Best Original Song, but “Shallow” from “A Star Is born” is way out in front.
See the full list of 18 below:
1. Suzanne de Passe: Best Original Screenplay for “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972)
2. Irene Cara: Best Original Song for “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from “Flashdance” (1983) (winner)
3. Yvonne Smith: Best Documentary Feature for “Adam Clayton Powell” (1989)
4. Ruth E. Carter: Best Costume Design for “Malcolm X” (1992), “Amistad” (1997) and “Black Panther” (2018)
5. Janet Jackson: Best Original Song for “Again” from “Poetic Justice” (1993)
6. Dianne Houston: Best Live Action Short Film for “Tuesday Morning Ride” (1995)
7. Karolyn Ali: Best Documentary Feature for “Tupac: Resurrection” (2003)
8. Sharen Davis: Best Costume Design for “Ray” (2004) and “Dreamgirls” (2006)
9. Siedah Garrett: Best Original Song for “Love You I Do” from “Dreamgirls” and “Real in Rio” from “Rio” (2011)
10. Oprah Winfrey: Best Picture for “Selma” (2014)
11. Kimberly Steward: Best Picture for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016)
12. Ava DuVernay: Best Documentary Feature for “13th” (2016)
13. Joi McMillon: Best Editing for “Moonlight” (2016)
14. Dee Rees: Best Adapted Screenplay for Mudbound” (2017)
15. Mary J. Blige: Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for “A Mighty River” from “Mudbound” (2017)
16. Taura Stinson: Best Original Song for “A Mighty River” from “Mudbound” (2017)
17. Hannah Beachler: Best Production Design for “Black Panther” (2018)
18. SZA: Best Original Song for “All the Stars” from “Black Panther” (2018)
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on Feb. 24.