Over the past three decades, Carter has worked on more than 40 films. The Springfield, Mass., native is known for her detailed research in preparation for costume design, as well as her dedication to the craft. Her skills are especially valued in films featuring actors in period costumes, such as in “The Butler,” “Selma” and “Marshall.”
She has worked with Oscar-winning filmmaker Spike Lee on more than 10 motion pictures including “School Daze,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X.” Carter was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1993 for “Malcolm X” and in 1998 for Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad,” as well as for an Emmy in 2016, following a television remake of “Roots.”
In 2019, she became the first African American to win Best Costume Design for her work on the Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Black Panther.” Carter said the “Black Panther” costumes were inspired by her visits to South Africa, where she received permission to incorporate traditional Lesotho designs into the film’s wardrobe.
Current and upcoming films featuring Carter’s work include “Dolomite is My Name” on Netflix starring Eddie Murphy and Paramount’s “Coming 2 America,” also starring Eddie Murphy and directed by Craig Brewer.
Carter also received the Career Achievement Award and Excellence in Sci-fi/Fantasy Film award from the Costume Designers Guild in 2019. She also won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Costume Design for “Black Panther.”
Carter is a graduate of Hampton University and earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts in 1982 and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Suffolk University in May 2019.