Oprah Reminded Angela Bassett Of Her Surprising 2023 Oscar Loss, And Here's How She Responded

Remember last year when Angela Bassett did the thing?

Angela Bassett smiling in an off-shoulder gown with sparkling embellishments at an awards event
Lionel Hahn / Getty Images

No, I'm not referring to Ariana Debose's viral musical tribute. I'm talking about when Angela had a normal reaction to losing an Academy Award, and the internet went wild.

Ariana DeBose dancing and singing "Angela Bassett did the thing" at an awards show, in the middle of an aisle

In an intimate conversation with Orpah Winfrey, Angela talked about that reaction on her big night, and it's the response I would expect from a queen, on and off the screen.

A close-up of Oprah wearing round eye glasses, a blouse, and a jacket
A close-up of Oprah wearing round eye glasses, a blouse, and a jacket
A close-up of Angela in a blazer with hoop earrings, seated against a green background
A close-up of Angela in a blazer with hoop earrings, seated against a green background


I'll always remember when, last year, Angela became the only actor in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Angela Bassett poses on the Oscars red carpet in a gown with an asymmetrical neckline and holds a small, sparkling purse
Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

That's right. Out of 33 MCU movies, Angela was the only one to receive an Oscar nom for her role as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Queen Ramonda in elaborate headpiece and regal attire sitting authoritatively; likely from a film or TV show

In a film universe that includes Oscar winners like Jeff Bridges, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Ben Kingsley, Tilda Swinton, Forrest Whitaker, Jamie Foxx, and more — Angela was the only actor to snag a nomination for her role in the superhero franchise.

Four MCU film characters from left to right: Hela, Trevor Slattery, Zuri, and Pepper Potts
Marvel / © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

Angela was also nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the SAG Awards, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes, the latter of which she won. The 911 star became the front-runner for the Academy Award, but everyone was surprised when it came time to announce her name on March 12, 2023.

Angela Bassett, in a sequined dress, smiles holding her Golden Globe award
Trae Patton / NBC via Getty Images

The award instead went to a well-deserved Jamie Lee Curtis for her role as the IRS agent Deirdre Beaubeirdre in Everything Everywhere All at One. Surprisingly, it was Jamie's first nomination, highlighting that Angela wasn't the only celebrated actor to be overlooked for many years in multiple incredible roles.

Deirdre Beaubeirdre sits at a cluttered office desk, looking forward with an expression of mild frustration

Other nominees in the category included Jamie's costar, Stephanie Hsu, Kerry Condon for Banshees of Inisherin, and Hong Chau for The Whale.

A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

Fans quickly took to social media to express their shock and frustration and didn't hold back. But, the stunned faces of audiences at home remained hidden, while Angela's immediate reaction quickly went viral.

ABC/Twitter: @SpencerAlthouse

It seemed like such an obvious win; they actually had Ariana (who famously created a viral Angela meme) announcing the winner in anticipation of another.

Earlier this year, Angela received an Honorary Academy Award for her legendary acting career. But, regardless if she has a statuette now, it's hard to forget that night at the 2023 Oscars.

Angela Basset in sparkling gown holding her honorary Oscar as she smiles and stands at a podium
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

In Own Spotlight with Oprah, Angela looked back on that night and how she felt when she didn't hear her name called. "I just knew your name was going to be called, and when they didn't, I was beside myself," Oprah said.

Angela and Oprah in conversation with an Oscar trophy on a table in between them

"Were you gobsmacked?" Oprah asked. "People are saying your disappointment showed, but I thought you handled it very well. What do you think?"

Oprah Winfrey in a buttoned shirt, wearing glasses and earrings

"I thought I handled it very well, also. And that was my intention, to handle it very well," Angela said. "It was, of course, a supreme disappointment, and disappointment is human. So I thought, yes, I was disappointed, and I handled it like a human being."

A closeup-of Angela Basset speaking

Oprah referenced the viral "Angela Bassett face," referring to her reaction's popularity on social media, noting that she didn't get it because, sure, Angela was disappointed, but she was "still as gracious as queen would be."

closeup of angela at an event in an off-shoulder dress
Gilbert Flores / Golden Globes 2024 via Getty Images

Angela embraced the "gracious" compliment, saying she did it for herself and her children who were there with her. "There are going to be these moments of disappointment that they're going to experience, but how do you handle yourself in the midst of them? Angela added. "So, we're going to smile, we're going to be gracious, we're going to be kind, we're going to party — anyway."

Angela and her husband and two children smile on the red carpet
Lionel Hahn / Getty Images

Angela has portrayed the Queen of Rock and Roll, and the mother to both the King of Pop and the King of Wakanda. Now she will narrate a new National Geographic documentary, Queens, for one reason — she's earned her place in Hollywood royalty, and no amount of statuettes or sour faces will ever change that.

Angela in patterned dress at the national geographic premiere
Amy Sussman / The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

All hail the queen!

Angela Basset in medieval attire stands in a courtyard with floral arrangements in a from Damsel
Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection