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For her work brining the fictitious nation of Wakanda to the big screen in Marvel’s Black Panther, Hannah Beachler became the first African-American to be nominated for — and now win — an Oscar in production design.
Beachler, the film’s production designer, was honored with set decorator Jay Hart, who received his first Oscar after two previous nominations, for Pleasantville and L.A. Confidential.
Thanking Black Panther helmer Ryan Coogler, Beacher said on stage, “I stand here stronger than I was yesterday. I stand here with agency and self-worth because of Ryan Coogler. You 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, who’s patient and gave me air, humanity and brotherhood.”
She added that she’s also stronger thanks to Marvel “who gave me the opportunity to do my best, who supported the vision of this film, and lifted us up every day. Victoria Alonso, Kevin Feige, Louis D’Esposito, and the man with the best laugh ever, Nate Moore.
Beachler saluted the film’s art department crew “who lead with their hearts and brought their experiences, talent, courage, humility, and hard work to the table. Supervising art director Alan Hook and set decorator Jay Hart, thank you. I’m stronger today because of this wonderful cast who every day stepped into this world and breathed life into it. Because of Ruth Carter and [cinematographer] Rachel Morrison and everything they did behind the camera with me. I am stronger because of a woman who supported me every day, that I wanted to give up, this is for you, my friend, Carol Trevino. Rest in power.”
She thanked her family and summed up saying, “I give this strength to all of those who come next, to keep going, to never give up. And when you think it’s impossible, just remember to say this piece of advice I got from a very wise woman: I did my best, and my best is good enough.”
Backstage, Beachler added, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you you can’t do this craft. You are worthy, you are worthy, and this is something for you.”
Black Panther topped a field that also included The Favourite, First Man, Mary Poppins Returns and Roma.
Beachler’s collaboration with Black Panther helmer Ryan Coogler goes back to his first feature, 2013’s Fruitvale Station.
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