Sunday’s Academy Awards might have been the Blackest Oscars ceremony I’ve ever seen. A record seven Black men and women walked away with golden statues. From these historic wins to inside jokes about white people to the beautiful gowns and speeches, Hollywood’s biggest night will go down as a magical moment in Black history.
Here are the 9 Blackest moments from the night:
When Regina King Won Best Supporting Actress
The ceremony kicked off with a well-deserved Oscar win for Regina King, who’s been showcasing her talent in both dramatic and comedic roles for years. She acknowledged the legendary James Baldwin in her acceptance speech: “To be here representing one of the greatest artists of our time, James Baldwin, is a little surreal. [He] birthed this baby,” she said in reference to her film “If Beale Street Could Talk.”
When Billy Porter Slayed The Red Carpet In A Custom Gown
Billy Porter gave us the only red carpet moment that matters this awards season. The “Pose” star graced the carpet in a custom velvet gown designed by Christian Siriano and inspired by the Legendary Grandfather Hector Xtravaganza of the House of Xtravaganza, making a statement about masculinity or femininity and giving a nod to ballroom culture.
When Ruth Carter Became The First Black Woman To Win For Costume Design
Costume designer and stylist Ruth E. Carter finally has an Oscar. The 58-year-old woman has over 40 styling and design credits to her name. Her work has helped transform actors into icons (like Denzel Washington into Malcolm X or Angela Bassett into Tina Turner), and she has transported audiences to different places in space and time like Wakanda and the many White House years in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.” Carter is the first Black woman to win the award.
When Black Panther Won Big For Marvel
While the record-breaking blockbuster didn’t take home the big prize, “Black Panther” continued to make history on Oscars night. Not only did the film win the first Oscar for a Black woman in costume design, Hannah Beachler became the first Black woman to win an Oscar for Production Design for her role in the film. “Black Panther” also nabbed the award for Best Original Score, making it the first Marvel film to win not just one, but three golden statues.
When Tessa Thompson And Michael B. Jordan Dismissed Stereotypes
It’s always a beautiful moment when Tessa Thompson and Michael B(ae) Jordan are together; it’s even better when they’re keeping us woke. While presenting the award for Best Original Score, Thompson and Jordan joked about how some of the most memorable film scores also remind us about bad things happening in the water (think “Titanic” and “Jaws”). Amid their witty banter, Thompson turned to Jordan and asked if he could swim, saying, “A lot of people don’t know that about us,” before the two looked directly into the camera. Iconic!
When Trevor Noah Made A Joke In Xhosa
While introducing “Black Panther” as a Best Picture nominee, Noah said: “Growing up as a young boy in Wakanda, I would see King T’Challa flying over our village, and he would remind me of a great Xhosa phrase: Abelungu abazi ubu ndiyaxoka, which means: ‘In times like these, we are stronger when we fight together than when we try to fight apart.’”
But what “The Daily Show” host was actually saying is “white people don’t know that I’m lying,” a tongue-in-cheek nod to his South African culture and to white guilt.
When “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” Won Best Animated Feature
As writer Phil Lord put it during his acceptance speech for the award, “When we hear that somebody’s kid was watching the movie and turns to them and says ‘He looks like me …,’ we feel like we’ve already won.” With this win, the film’s co-director Peter Ramsey became the first Black person to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
When Spike Lee Finally Got His Oscar
After decades of contributions to film, Spike Lee can finally say he’s an Academy Award winner. His win for “BlacKkKLansman” was one of the night’s biggest moments of joy, not just for those watching at home, but for everyone in the room (Samuel L. Jackson shouted when he announced Lee as the winner and lifted the writer-director up in an enormous bear hug on stage.).
During his acceptance speech, Lee paid homage to our ancestors who were enslaved 400 years ago and to his grandmother who got him through film school. He also invoked the title of one of his most memorable projects as he asked the audience to consciously participate in the future of our country. “The 2020 presidential election is around the let’s all be on the right side of history,” he said. “Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing!”
When Rep. John Lewis Gave An Impassioned Speech
Any time Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is around, it’s a Black history moment. He took the stage alongside “The Hate U Give” actress Amandla Stenberg to introduce the movie “Green Book.” Lewis also took the time to remind viewers that he was there for the real-life civil rights struggles seen in the film and that those struggles are far from over. “Our nation bears the scars of that time, as do I,” he said. “Young or old, I encourage you to be an active participant in the journey.”