‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ Just Made History at the 2021 Academy Awards

The costume designer and hair and makeup team both had historic wins.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has had an impressive award season. The Netflix movie, starring Viola Davis as the titular character, was nominated for five Oscars at the 2021 show on April 25th and ended up making history with its wins.

The makeup and hair team of Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson won the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, marking the first time ever that Black women won this award. Though all three took the stage in L.A. to accept the award, Neal spoke for all of them, using her speech to highlight those who came before her and the power of inclusivity.

Neal spoke of her Black ancestors who paved the way for her and Wilson’s historic win, saying, “Thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, were denied, but never gave up.”

She also called out trans women, Asian women, indigenous women, and Latina women, sharing that she hopes we will soon get to the day when their wins will be more frequent and can finally be considered the norm.

I know that one day it won’t be unusual or groundbreaking—it will just be normal, she said.

Right after their historic win, Ann Roth won the Oscar for Best Costume Design for the movie, making her the oldest woman to win an award at age 89. Roth has been nominated for numerous awards during her long career and previously won the 1996 Oscar for The English Patient.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was also nominated for Best Actor (Chadwick Boseman), Best Actress (Viola Davis), and Best Production Design (Mark Ricker, Karen O’Hara and Diana Sroughton). Check back for updates as the night goes on!

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