Angela Bassett Explains Her Memorable Oscars Reaction: “I Handled It Like A Human Being”

Angela Bassett is still explaining her reaction to losing at last year’s Oscars, a take that went viral in the ensuing days.

In a new interview with Oprah Winfrey, Bassett spoke about her Best Supporting Actress performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

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Bassett was the first actor in any category to receive an Oscar nomination for a performance in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. Bassett won a Critics’ Choice Award and a Golden Globe for Wakanda Forever, so there was some anticipation of a victory at the Oscars.

Jamie Lee Curtis won the award for her work in Everything Everywhere All at Once. “I thought I handled it very well, and that was my intention: to handle it very well,” Bassett said. “It was, of course, a supreme disappointment, and disappointment is human, so yes, I was disappointed, and I handled it like a human being.”

Winfrey claimed that she didn’t understand why Bassett’s reaction to Curtis’ win went viral. “I didn’t get the whole ‘Angela Bassett face,’” she said. “I thought, wow, you can see that [you] expected another thing, but you were still as gracious as a queen would be.”

Bassett agreed.

“Absolutely. For myself and for my children, who were there with me, yes,” Bassett said. “I know a pastor who says ‘technology is different — people are the same.’ There are going to be these moments of disappointment that they are going to experience. But how do you handle yourself in the midst of them? We’re going to smile, we’re going to be gracious, we’re going to be kind — we got a party, anyway.”

In January, Bassett received an honorary Academy Award at the 2024 Governor’s Awards. At the ceremony, Bassett’s speech was aimed at other Black actresses.

“Take comfort knowing that your performances have given hope, offered a different perspective, and for others, just pure joy in a time of need,” she said in her speech. “Never allow fear, frustration, or disappointment to get in the way of the blessings that are divinely and deservedly yours. Remember who you are and who our ancestors intended us to be. I proudly share this honor with women who stand up when they are told to stand back, who speak up when they are silenced, who remain determined when they are told they are defeated.”

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