“Hi my aunt. We love you.”
Five simple words from presenters Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors, directed at Angela Bassett, who was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at Sunday night’s ceremony.
As the ‘Creed III’ co-stars took to the stage to present the Best Cinematography award – two categories after the Supporting Actress award went to ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ star Jamie Lee Curtis – they took a moment to talk to Bassett, seated in front of them.
“Hey Auntie,” Jordan began, echoing his dialogue from 2018’s “Black Panther,” as his character Erik Killmonger sneakily introduced himself to Bassett’s Queen Ramonda.
The Majors picked up from there, adding, “We love you.” (He and Bassett are both Yale School of Drama alumni, with Majors sharing the screen on HBO’s “Lovecraft Country” with her husband, Courtney B. Vance.)
Kind words from Jordan and Majors came as the internet mourned the loss of Bassett – and the stoic look on her face when her name was not called – sharing the clip of her as Queen Ramonda, shouting: “Did I not give it my all? from Marvel Studios’ 2022 film “Wakanda Forever.”
Bassett’s Oscar nomination was for her work in the “Black Panther” sequel, in which she portrays the ruler of the kingdom of Wakanda, the Afro-futuristic home of the Black Panther. “Wakanda Forever” was crafted after the death of franchise star Chadwick Boseman, with the cast and filmmaker Ryan Coogler channeling their own grief over their loss into a powerful tribute. Had Bassett won, she would have become the first actress in a Marvel Studios film to win an Oscar, continuing the strong Oscar legacy of the “Black Panther” franchise.
The Academy recognition marked her second nod, her first 29 years ago in the Best Actress category for portraying Tina Turner in “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” This year, Bassett was nominated alongside “Everything Everywhere All at Once” actors Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, “The Banshees of Inisherin” star Kerry Condon and “The Whale” actor Hong Chau.
At times during this awards season cycle, Bassett had appeared to be the front-runner for the award. She received the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award and a host of NAACP Image Awards, including Entertainer of the Year, although these are not considered precursors to the Oscar award. She was also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild (with the award going to Curtis) and the BAFTAs (where Condon won).
Bassett’s most famous credits include “How Stella Got Her Groove Back”, “Akeelah and the Bee” (with a young Keke Palmer and Laurence Fishburne) and her portrayal of a trio of historical figures – Betty Shabazz (in “Malcolm X”), Katherine Jackson (“The Jacksons: An American Drama”) and Rosa Parks (“The Rosa Parks Story”).