Angela Bassett is a history-making two-time Oscar nominee, and she’s proud of it. On Jan. 24, the 64-year-old icon earned a best supporting actress nomination for portraying Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” making her the first Marvel star to be nominated for an acting Oscar. The best supporting actress category is stacked this year, with Bassett up against Hong Chau (“The Whale”), Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), and Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).
“I’m thankful to the Academy for including me amongst a wonderful group of actresses.”
Bassett reflected on Queen Ramonda’s depth while reacting to the news of her nomination. “What has drawn me to each of the women I’ve portrayed throughout my career is their strength, compassion, resilience, and power,” she said in a statement to POPSUGAR. “‘Wakanda Forever”s Queen Ramonda is a character that touched my spirit because she is a mother and a leader who must care for her grieving nation as much as she cares for her family in mourning. Ramonda is a love letter that reflects and acknowledges what we women do everyday. . . . I’m thankful to the Academy for including me amongst a wonderful group of actresses.”
This is Bassett’s second Oscar nomination, following her 1994 lead actress nod for playing Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” Though she didn’t win the award, the actor told “CBS Mornings” cohost Gayle King on March 3, “I choose to believe that there’s a reason why it didn’t happen.” “In the moment . . . you’re hoping, and praying, and wishing, but I don’t walk away thinking ‘I’ve been robbed,’” she noted. “That’s too negative of an emotion to carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Nearly 30 years after her first Oscar nomination, Bassett is finally back in the Academy Awards conversation. Looking back on her years-long journey and the time it took her to get to where she is today, the actor told USA Today that she’d probably advise her younger self, “Just hang in there, girl. Take care of yourself, be grateful and just don’t give up. It’s going to be a long time coming maybe, but keep it all in perspective. It’s only doing good work that’s going to potentially get you there (again).”
Bassett has been sweeping award season this year, winning big at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards, and earning nominations at the SAG Awards and BAFTAs. This is all thanks to her celebrated role in the Black Panther franchise, which has also contributed to the recognition Marvel films have gradually gotten at the Oscars.
“Black Panther” memorably landed a total of seven nominations in 2019, including best picture, and wound up winning accolades for costume design, original score, and production design. Plus, many MCU productions have been featured in the best visual effects category through the years, including “Doctor Strange,” “Avengers: Endgame,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and all three Iron Man movies. But Bassett’s nod marks the first time a star within the superhero franchise has been recognized by the Academy for acting.
In her Golden Globes acceptance speech in January, Bassett honored her late costar Chadwick Boseman and thanked Marvel fans for their continued support. “We embarked on this journey together with love,” she said. “We mourned, we loved, we healed, and we were surrounded each and every day by the light and the spirit of Chadwick Boseman. . . . And to the Marvel fans, thank you for embracing these characters and showing us so much love.”
Other notable 2023 Oscar front-runners include first-time nominees Michelle Yeoh, Austin Butler, Rihanna, and Brendan Fraser. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” received the most nods with 11, while “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” tied for the second most with nine.
The “Black Panther” sequel earned a total of five nominations, including best costume design and best makeup and hairstyling. If Bassett does scoop up the best supporting actress trophy at the ceremony on March 12, we already know her acceptance speech will be one for the books.