FYC: Angela Bassett for Best Supporting Actress

It’s far past time that we start referring to Angela Bassett as “Academy Award Winner Angela Bassett.” Thirty years after her first Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It? (for which she frankly should have won), Angela Bassett stands now as a front-runner to win the award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. 

When I left the theater after seeing Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, my initial response was, “It’s not going to happen, but Angela Bassett deserves an Oscar nomination for her performance.” While I did not doubt the power of Bassett’s performance (she has always, and will always “do the thing”), I did doubt the Academy’s appetite for nominating someone for a performance in a Marvel film.

While Marvel films on whole tend to garner very little Oscar attention outside of the technical categories, save for the original Black Panther film, there have been a number of performances within the Marvel franchise that were worthy of Academy Award nominations. While most of said performances could be left up to debate amongst film Twitter, suffice to say that Bassett’s performance in Wakanda Forever transcends discourse. To have forgone nominating her would have been to forgone honoring a performance that emanates power and vulnerability. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens with Queen Ramonda breaking the news to Shuri that her brother, T’Challa, has died. What follows is an emotional and chilling tribute to Chadwick Boseman, and an ongoing discussion around the effects of grief. As Shuri and Ramonda work through their grief, the opportunity presents itself to showcase a number of emotional scenes.

From a scene shared between Shuri and Ramonda about Shuri’s hesitance to properly grieve, to a scene where Ramonda confronts the CIA around allegations that Wakanda has been behind a string of recent attacks, to a tipping point where Ramonda confronts her own kingdom about the loss of her son, Bassett stands in her power. The only way to describe her performance in the film is in a way of regality that transcends a fictional queen, and reflects more on the cinematic legend portraying her. 

Angela Bassett knows what she brings to the table, and through her performance, she’s reminding us it’s far past time she be given a seat at the Oscar winners’ table. While all of the actresses nominated this year bring something to the conversation that warrants them worthy of the nomination, and Bassett not being the only nominee who is due for recognition, the pure fact that Bassett manages to give a performance so powerful it is able to break past the cynicism of Marvel bias makes a strong case for why she should be this year’s Best Supporting Actress winner. 

You can read our review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever here.

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