Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson first Black women nominated for makeup, hair Oscars

'You can raise the bar now. You can be recognized in this way as well,' said Neal

Black women are finally being recognized in the makeup and hair category at the Oscars.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson are the first Black women to ever be nominated in the hair and makeup category at the Oscars. The ladies snagged the nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for their participation in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom on Monday. The nominees spoke with Variety about their history-making accomplishment.

Oscars Ma Rainey thegrio.com
(Credit: Netflix)

“I feel like I have to pinch myself. I’m just completely honored to be nominated for this award because I’m doing something that I love. I never imagined myself being here. I just can’t explain the feeling. I’m doing something that I love and now I’m nominated for an Academy Award,” said Wilson.

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“I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be honored by such a prestigious committee. To be with Jamika and for us to be the first African Americans nominated in this category is overwhelming,” said Neal.

“I have to raise my expectations for myself because this was something I never thought that I could achieve,” said the hairstylist who also worked as the head of the hair department on Uncut Gems and served as a wig maker in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Neal was the hair department head on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, a period piece that tells the story of blues legend, Ma Rainey.

Neal told the magazine that she never imagined this could happen to her.

“You can raise the bar now. You can be recognized in this way as well.”

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Ma Rainey thegrio.com
Chadwick Boseman (left) and co-star Viola Davis are both nominated for Golden Globe Awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in motion-picture acting categories for their stellar roles in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” (Credit: Netflix)

Wilson, who also worked on How to Get Away with Murder as a hairstylist, said the nomination is beyond her.

“The recognition of my art and talent by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is bigger than me. It is for every young hairstylist who dreams beyond the salon chair to work on a motion picture set. It is for the young child who tells their parent they want to be a hairstylist to receive a response of ‘That’s not a real career.’ The nomination is validation that hair styling is an art form, a craft and a skill. It also shows every Black woman or man doing hair that we can achieve, and importantly that our talent and skill is equal and exceptional.”

The Best Makeup and Hairstyling category was first created in 1981 and traditionally only about three films are nominated every year.

“To be the changing point of this is amazing, It’s crazy to think that we are the first Black nominees in this category, but we aren’t the last. I agree with what Mia was saying, that now I feel like I need to step up my game like we’re setting this example,” Wilson added.

The film stars Viola Davis and was the late Chadwick Boseman’s last performance. It has been nominated for five awards at the upcoming 93rd Academy Awards.

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