Yes, we at The Root are still reeling from Angela Bassett’s loss at The Oscars on Sunday, and apparently so is social media. Reactions ranged from anger, to disbelief, to a celebration of the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star’s unforgettable performance. Though it’s supposedly their intention, Oscars aren’t always presented to the best work of the year. There’s a lot of politics involved, which is why nominees have to campaign so hard. And in this instance, the Academy chose to give the award for Best Supporting Actress to Jamie Lee Curtis for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Jamie is a popular actress who is also a part of Hollywood’s legacy. She’s the daughter of classic stars Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis. This Oscar wasn’t just for this movie, it was about her body of work, as well as her family. For the Academy’s older, white voters, she’s the safe choice. Yet Angela Bassett, who’s been in the business for decades and has an equally stellar—if not better—body of work is somehow the “woke” choice. Angela’s loss, along with the snub of Viola Davis, Danielle Deadwyler and Gina Prince-Bythewood, highlights how Black women are not only competing against other artists, they’re up against a system specifically designed to exclude them.
Proving this point, Twitter was quick to remind everyone about the insulting comments seen in the “anonymous voter” stories that have been making the rounds lately.
Alongside a screenshot of one of these articles, journalist and author Jemele Hill explained that there are always going to be Academy voters who just can’t let go of their old school way of thinking, tweeting, “Angela Bassett’s excellence is undeniable. But a reminder of the mentality she was up against in trying to win an Academy Award. Of course, not all voters think this way, but I’m guessing this isn’t the only voter that has these kind of views.”
One user highlighted how the 9-1-1 star has deserved her flowers for a long time, tweeting, “#AngelaBassett deserves the #Oscars SHE EARNED IT AT THIS STAGE. Her performance in black panther was beyond great. Like are you freaking kidding me.”
Journalist Carolyn Hinds also posted a screenshot from a “secret ballot” story noting how Black artists are always singled out in a way that other creatives aren’t, adding, “As much as I appreciate and understand the cast and Crew of EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE celebrating their Oscar wins, I simply can not ignore how Black people continue to be spiteful and purposely shut out because of the pervasive anti-Blackness and misogyny in Hollywood.”
And when she lost, Bassett was expected to just smile through her disappointment, like Black women often do. When this didn’t happen, with the actress letting her emotions show, she was criticized for that too. So not only do we lose, but we’re expected to lose in a certain way. This woman won a lot of awards leading up to the Oscars and went into the night as the frontrunner. Yes, we all know anything can happen, but is she not allowed to be disappointed about losing an honor she thought she was about to finally receive?
One message noted how Black people are still always expected to put white people’s feelings first, tweeting, “No matter how big a black artist is, they’ll still be expected to grin and bear it when it comes to yt folk. #AngelaBassett is an icon who deserves better.”
“Aaaaaand here we go. Expect more of this as woman and particularly BW are not allowed to have a full range of emotions or be, y’know, human,” wrote one user, alongside a screenshot of someone criticizing the 2023 NAACP Image Awards Entertainer of the Year’s reaction to Curtis’ name being read.
Another user asserted that the Academy really just wanted to use Bassett’s name and popularity to get eyes on their show, writing, “Yall know how these award shows work... they’ve been doing Angela Bassett dirty for years.... almost like they nominate a certain artist/actress just for views.”
Angela Bassett may not have won the Oscar but we all know who our one true queen is. In the words of Michael B. Jordan, “Hey Auntie, We love you.”