The Oscars are a star-studded night to acknowledge talent in Hollywood’s film industry. For most actors and actresses, receiving acknowledgment from the Academy Awards is like finding gold at the end of the rainbow.
Over the years, the Oscars have faced scrutiny due to the lack of Black actors being nominated and winning in all categories. In 2016, Jada Pinkett Smith along with Spike Lee and other Black entertainers boycotted the Oscars. They encouraged their peers to do the same and pushed for more diversity with the trending hashtag #OscarSoWhite?
This year only two Black actors received a nod of approval from the Academy Awards: Angela Bassett and Brian Tyree Henry. The Black Panther sequel “Wakanda Forever” was nominated in five different categories: Best Supporting Actress, Best Costume Design, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup and Hair. The sequel surpassed Captain Marvel as the highest-grossed female-led superhero movie in U.S. box office history.
Unfortunately, the film walked away with only one award, Best Costume Design. The disappointing loss for Angela Bassett was felt through the screen when Jamie Lee Curtis won for her role in “Everything Everywhere All the Time.”
Bassett gave a slight nod and a smile that was almost painful to witness. This is Bassett’s second time being nominated and losing after 38 years of being in the business. To give a classy response of hurt is only human.
Media outlets like The New York Post did not hold back, calling Bassett a sore loser. Journalist Piers Morgan, who is known for his abrasive commentary, gave his two cents on Basset’s reaction: “When you lose, you’ve got to try and pretend you’re happy for the people who win, and this is something Angela Bassett did not get the memo on,” Morgan said.
Although Morgan forgot to reflect on his actions in the past when attending award shows. Twitter user @queenmiserable brought up the fact that in 2019 at the National Television Awards, Morgan didn’t have the best sportsmanship when “This Morning: show won. “You’re the one to talk to,” she tweeted.
As Black women, we are put under a microscope and critiqued harder than our peers. We have to keep it together at all times, even amid disappointment. Critics forgot to keep in mind that her castmate Chadwick Bowman passed away before the sequel began production. So the lack of enthusiasm is also her grieving the emotional attachment she had to the film and the late Bowman.
In 2022, Bassett won a Golden Globe in the category of Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for “Wakanda Forever.” Some would say that the Golden Globes are a prediction of what the Oscar turnout might be. The last 31 Best Actress Academy Award winners, 27 of those winners also won an Oscar that same year.
I can say that Bassett handled the disappointment like a class act. To have the media hyping you up to win and still walk away with a smile while losing is something that not everyone can do.
The Academy voting members are overseeing what films and actors are selected for nominations. If 81% of the voters identify as white and 67% as male, will the odds ever be in Black people’s favor?
Jamie Lee Curtis did win her first Oscar for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Curtis is a talented actress, who has been in the business for 45 years and is no rookie. We can’t forget that Curtis is the daughter of Hollywood royalty Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Having an upper hand by knowing who’s who in Hollywood, can strengthen your chances for success.
With the Oscars having a hard time recognizing Black talent, this may be an opportunity for entertainers to pour into more diverse award shows. Sometimes needing validation from those who won’t accept us, is a never-ending battle. Angela Bassett should be recognized by the
Oscars but if that won’t happen lets see how we can honor her at the NAACP awards.
For change to get a kickstart, we have to be willing to walk away from what we thought was the only option.