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Angela Bassett did the thing. Finally an Oscar honoree, kissing Regina King

Alexandra Del Rosario
Los Angeles Times

Somebody get Ariana DeBose, because Angela Bassett finally did the thing: She won an Oscar.

The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It” star received her first career Academy Award at the 2024 Governors Awards Tuesday evening. Bassett, who was previously nominated for the aforementioned projects, received an honorary Oscar alongside comedy legend Mel Brooks and film editor Carol Littleton.

“This for me is not just another award, it’s a testament to my legacy,” Bassett said during her acceptance speech. “This trophy represents my contributions to this medium of film, all that I’ve given of my mind and spirit as an actress who is a Black woman.”

Bassett was presented the honorary Oscar by her “Boyz n the Hood” co-star Regina King. An Oscar winner herself and Bassett’s longtime friend, King praised the 65-year-old star, whom she described as a “national treasure,” for her enduring career and iconic roles.

In 1994, Bassett earned her first Oscar nomination for “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” where she portrayed the late dynamo Tina Turner. King said she revisits the Brian Gibson film annually and that Bassett’s memorable performance as Turner speaks to the lasting impact of her work.

“Angela has lived a career for the ages, and I swear she is ageless,” King added. The “Watchmen” star continued her introduction celebrating Bassett for her off-screen talent, saying, “She is artistic excellence embodied in human form.”

After King’s rousing speech, Bassett reciprocated the love by embracing her friend and kissing her briefly on the lips.

In her powerful,15-minute speech, Bassett thanked her family, collaborators and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the honor. The second Black woman actor to earn an honorary Oscar (late star Cicely Tyson received hers in 2018), Bassett reflected on what the award means for the future of Black artists in Hollywood. She listed all the Black women who have won competitive Oscars — from Hattie McDaniel to Halle Berry — praising them as “beacons of possibility.” Bassett also recognized “West Side Story” Oscar winner DeBose, who shouted out the “Strange Days” star in her viral rap at the 2023 BAFTAs.

“What I hope this moment means is that we are taking the necessary steps toward a future in which it is the norm and not the exception to see and embrace one another’s full humanity, stories and perspectives,” Bassett continued. “When we stand together, we win together.”

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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