Brow Beat

Nine Wins That Could Make History at the Oscars This Sunday

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda wears an elaborate white costume with a tall hat.
A Best Costume Design win for Black Panther would be historic. Disney/Marvel Studios

Though it’s certainly unusual for the Academy Awards to have no official host, the ceremony on Sunday won’t quite be a first—that honor belongs to the 1939 Oscars, which were similarly host-less. However, there are quite a few nominees this year who could find themselves in the history books if their names are called. Below are some of the potential wins that would be milestones.

Black Panther, first superhero film to win Best Picture
The cultural, social, and financial impacts of Black Panther are undeniable, but if it wins Best Picture, it will also make history as the first superhero film to do so. While action-heavy blockbusters have typically found success in the technical categories, Black Panther’s inclusion in the Best Picture race signals a shift toward a more inclusive academy without even needing to create a Popular Film award. If Black Panther wins, it could also be a step toward correcting 2008’s snub of The Dark Knight, which contributed to the academy expanding the number of Best Picture nominees.


Ruth E. Carter, first black person to win Best Costume Design
In 1992, Carter became the first black person to be nominated in the category. In 2019, she could make history yet again as the first black costume designer to win, for Black Panther.

Hannah Beachler, first black person to win Best Production Design
Another potential Black Panther first: If the film’s production designer takes home an award, she will be the first black production designer to win in that field.

Roma, first Best Picture win for Netflix
Netflix has 43 Primetime Emmy awards to its name, but the streaming service has had to wait a little longer for recognition at the Oscars, only winning its first award for documentary short The White Helmets in 2017. Roma could give Netflix its first Best Picture win and would also mark the first win for any streaming service in the category. Update, Feb. 22, 2019: Roma would also be the first foreign-language film to win Best Picture.


Gabriela Rodriguez, first Latina producer to win Best Picture
 Roma’s Best Picture win would also mark the first time a woman from any Latin American country accepts the prize: Venezuelan producer Gabriela Rodriguez would be recognized alongside Alfonso Cuarón.


Alfonso Cuarón, first person to win Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Original Screenplay in the same year
Speaking of Cuarón, the filmmaker has already been nominated 11 times and taken home two awards, so Academy Award nominations are nothing new for him. However, he could make history as the first person to win Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Original Screenplay in the same year, all for his work on Roma.

Spike Lee, first black person to win Best Directing
Though he has an honorary award from the academy, it’s hard to believe Spike Lee has never won an Oscar for directing, especially after Do the Right Thing. Even more difficult to believe is the fact that no black person in the history of the Academy Awards has ever won the prize.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, first Best Animated Feature win for Marvel
The movie brought a black Spider-Man, Miles Morales, to the big screen for the first time, and the creatively ambitious film has also secured Marvel its first nomination in the Animated Feature category.

Minding the Gap, first Oscar win for Hulu
The streaming service finally followed in Amazon and Netflix’s footsteps this year with its first ever Oscar nomination for Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap. A win for the documentary feature would mark Hulu’s first Academy Award.

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