Celebrated actress Angela Bassett, renowned for her remarkable career spanning nearly four decades, received an honorary Academy Award after two previous Oscar nominations. The prestigious recognition took place at the 14th annual Governors Awards, an event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In her heartfelt 15-minute acceptance speech, Bassett expressed gratitude to the Academy and the Board of Governors, emphasizing her dedication to acting as a calling, not just a career. She acknowledged her family, including her sister, husband Courtney B. Vance, and children Bronwyn and Slater, whom she asked to stand.
Bassett also paid tribute to her mother and aunt, acknowledging their support despite initial concerns about her pursuit of acting with two Yale University degrees. She holds an undergraduate degree in African American studies, a graduate degree in drama, and an honorary doctorate from Yale.
Throughout her speech, Bassett took moments to commend fellow Black actresses, including Regina King, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Lupita Nyong’o, and others, recognizing them as beacons of possibility for aspiring Black and brown girls in the acting world.
Remembering historic achievements, Bassett honored Hattie McDaniel, the first Black person to win an Oscar in 1939, Halle Berry, the only Black woman to win the lead actress category, Whoopi Goldberg, the only Black person nominated in both best actress and best supporting actress categories, and her mentor Cicely Tyson, the only other Black woman awarded an honorary Oscar.
Reflecting on her loss to Jamie Lee Curtis in 2022, fans expressed their frustrations on social media, but joyously celebrated Angela Bassett’s well-deserved recognition with the honorary Oscar. EGOT winner Jennifer Hudson took to Twitter, praising Bassett for her legendary contribution to the craft and trailblazing efforts. The honorary Oscar marks a significant milestone in Angela Bassett’s illustrious career, honoring her impact on the film industry and paving the way for future generations.