“Hi aunty. We love you.”
Five simple words from presenters Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors directed at Angela Bassett, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar during Sunday night’s ceremony.
When Jordan and Majors took the stage to present the award for best cinematography — two categories after the supporting actor award went to “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star Jamie Lee Curtis — the two men took a moment to speak with Bassett, who was seated in the front them.
“Hey auntie,” Jordan began, echoing his dialogue from 2018’s “Black Panther,” when his character Erik Killmonger slyly introduced himself to Bassett’s Queen Ramonda.
Majors took off from there and added, “We love you.” (Both actors are alumni of the Yale School of Drama.)
The kind words from Jordan and Majors came as the internet mourned Bassett’s loss — and the stoic look on her face when her name wasn’t called — by sharing the clip of her as Queen Ramonda, shouting, “Didn’t I give it my all?” in the 2022 Marvel Studios film “Wakanda Forever.”
Bassett’s Oscar nomination was for her work in the “Black Panther” sequel, portraying the ruler of the kingdom of Wakanda, the Afro-futuristic home of Black Panther. The recognition marked her second nod, the first coming 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 along with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” actors Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, “The Banshees of Inisherin” star Kerry Condon and “The Whale” actor Hong Chau.
For many in this awards season cycle, Bassett had seemed like the front runner for the award. She was honored with the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and NAACP Image Award, among others, despite the fact that they were not considered precursors to the Academy Award. She was also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild (with the award going to Curtis) and by BAFTA (where Condon won).
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was made following 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 actor starring in a Marvel Studios film to win an Oscar, continuing the “Black Panther” franchise’s strong legacy at the Oscars.