The makeup and hairstyling team for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom — Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson, and Sergio Lopez-Rivera — have taken the Oscar in the category, an historic win as Neal and Wilson are the first Black nominees to take the award in the space.
All three were first-time contenders. Neal was hair and wig designer and makeup department head; Wilson, personal hair stylist for star Viola Davis; and Lopez-Rivera her personal makeup artist.
“We break this glass ceiling with so much excitement,” said Neal, accepting the award. “I can picture … a day when this will not be unusual or groundbreaking. It will be normal.”
The trio emerged victorious for the epic, garish, mournful transformation of star Davis into legendary blues singer Ma Rainey as well as the loving 1920s Chicago styling for the rest of the cast. They were considered front-runners tonight, with the film having won for makeup and hair at the BAFTA Awards, the Critics Choice Awards and the Hollywood Makeup Artist and Hair Stylist Guild Awards.
The film was an ode to the famous blues singer’s determination in the face of the racism of the period and Davis was also strong contender for Best Actress tonight. Chadwick Boseman, in his final role before his death last August, was also expected to win a posthumous Best Actor award as Ma Rainey’s brash band member and trumpet player Levee.
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