Film / TV

BREAKING NEWS: Angela Bassett Makes Comic Book History

January 26, 2023

With the announcement of the 2023 Academy Award nominees, Angela Bassett has made comic book history. For her portrayal of Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Angela Bassett has simultaneously earned her second nomination and become the first actress from any comic book adaptation to be nominated for an Oscar. 

In 1994, Angela Bassett’s performance in the Tina Turner biopic earned her an Oscar nomination. While she lost to Holly Hunter, it’s been felt over the years that Angela was snubbed. Since then, Angela has delivered moving performances in productions like American Horror Story and The Rosa Parks Story, both of which earned her Emmy nominations. According to IMDb, Bassett has raked in 121 nominations and won 46 of them. 

The Oscars and the MCU

Winning an Academy Award is a major achievement for any actor. The nomination alone is equally noteworthy. At the same time, for Angela Bassett to earn a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, she’s made history. For DC Comics, Oscar nominations are not as rare, but a nomination for an actress has equally eluded the DC Extended Universe. Previously, no other film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) had been nominated at the Academy Awards.

Over the past few years, superhero movies, namely Marvel productions, have been labeled as bad for the movie industry. Actors like Jennifer Aniston and Matt Damon, alongside director, Martin Scorsese are some of the few who have publicly cited Marvel films as the problem in show business. At the same time, while many share his sentiment, Marvel movies aren’t going anywhere – especially given their commercial success. Black Panther is the first Black superhero franchise of this scale. The amount of lobbying and public outcry about representation matters when we discuss the value of the franchise. As much as commercial success and industry recognition are important, there is value in our representation. Wrong as it is to have to beg, borrow, and steal to make films with Black leads, seeing more in the future requires the films that are made to succeed.

A win (even a nomination) for Angela is a win for all

Regardless of our artistic preferences, it shouldn’t have taken this many years to get a Black superhero. In 2023, for a Black woman to be the first actress in a comic book adaptation to earn an Oscar nomination is no small feat. Where Black comic fans, cosplayers, writers, and producers note bias in fantasy and sci-fi related creative scenes, Angela Bassett’s Oscar nomination presents a moment for collective pride.