“Hey Auntie. 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 during Sunday night’s ceremony.
As Jordan and Majors took the stage to present the award for best cinematography — two categories after the supporting actress prize went to “Everything Everywhere All At Once” star Jamie Lee Curtis — the two men took a moment to speak to Bassett seated before them.
“Hey Auntie,” Jordan began, echoing his dialogue from 2018’s “Black Panther,” as his character Erik Killmonger slyly introduced himself to Bassett’s Queen Ramonda.
Majors picked up from there, adding: “We love you.” (Both actors are alumni of the Yale School of Drama.)
The kind words from Jordan and Majors came as the internet lamented 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, crying out, “Have I not given everything?” in the 2022 Marvel Studios 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. The acknowledgment 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 alongside “Everything Everywhere All at Once” actors Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, “The Banshees of Inisherin” star Kerry Condon and “The Whale” actor Hong Chau.
To many this awards season cycle, Bassett had seemed like the frontrunner for the prize. She was honored with the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and NAACP Image Award, among others, despite those not being considered precursors for the Oscars prize. She was also nominated by the Screen Actors Guild (with the prize going to Curtis) and at BAFTA (where Condon won).
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was crafted 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’ve become the first actor starring in a Marvel Studios film to win an Oscar, continuing the “Black Panther” franchise’s strong legacy at the Academy Awards.