We’ve long heard the cries of “Oscars so white,” but tonight’s ceremony takes the cake. During the most anticipated award of the night, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett stayed seated as Jamie Lee Curtis collected her win for Best Supporting Actress, which many are dubbing a “legacy win.”
The Everything Everywhere All At Once actor was nominated alongside her costar, Stephanie Hsu, Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Kerry Condon for The Banshees of Inisherin, and Hong Chau for The Whale.
During the time between the nomination announcement and the awards ceremony, many struggled to predict who would win, as Curtis has found success at other award shows during this season and gathered support for the nomination, her first at age 64 after over four decades of working in the industry.
Then, there’s also the other elephant in the room: Black women and Black creators were mostly shut out of the awards ceremony, despite previous criticisms of the Academy being overly white.
Frontrunners like Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler failed to nab a nomination for Best Actress despite receiving universal acclaim for their respective roles in The Woman King and Till, and director Gina Prince-Bythewood didn’t receive recognition for her work directing the Davis-led drama in the all-male category for Best Director, among many others.
Given that tensions were already high tonight, the famed Scream Queen failed to win over Oscars watchers and Bassett during her sentimental win. The Black Panther actor notably refused to commemorate as Curtis walked to the stage, despite her counterparts jumping to their feet to deliver a standing ovation. In the broadcast, Bassett is shown not clapping for Curtis after her name is announced. As the camera pans across the front row, Bassett sat motionless while others clamored to their feet to react.
Bassett, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 for What’s Love to do With It and nabbed a Golden Globe earlier this season for the Marvel flick, wasn’t the only one giving Curtis the side eye – the internet seemed to collectively sit this one out, as well.
In addition to criticizing the Academy for picking Curtis over Bassett, others have mentioned that Hsu was also a shoo in for the award and gave a more challenging performance than her counterpart. “Everyone who voted for Jamie Lee Curtis over Angela Bassett and Stephanie Hsu needs to sleep with one eye open,” wrote one angry viewer.
Listen, I’m happy for Jamie Lee, but Angela Bassett was right there…
— Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) March 13, 2023
Another penned, “Angela Bassett’s reaction to Jamie Lee Curtis’ name being called…you can tell how much that Oscar would have meant to her. She is, was, and always will be incredible. I better see her on that stage SOON,” sharing a clip of the snub.
Angela Bassett’s reaction to Jamie Lee Curtis’ name being called…you can tell how much that Oscar would have meant to her. she is, was, and always will be incredible. I better see her on that stage SOON pic.twitter.com/oHDfuDUksG
— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) March 13, 2023
A third chimed in with, “Of course the #Oscars reward white mediocrity because in what world did Jamie Lee Curtis give a better performance in comparison to Stephanie Hsu or Angela Bassett?”
Curtis may have taken home the gold tonight, but hopefully Bassett can rest easily knowing that she did the thing and is a winner in our eyes.