If Angela Bassett wins Oscar for ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,’ Lupita Nyong’o will join special group

Four years after “Black Panther” became the first Oscar-winning film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” cast member Angela Bassett has made history as the first person to achieve academy recognition for an MCU performance. Included among the numerous actors with whom she reunites in the 2022 sequel is Lupita Nyong’o, who first played her role of Nakia four years after earning a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “12 Years a Slave.” If Bassett ends up prevailing in the same category this year, Nyong’o will be the 16th woman to have acted in a film that won the same Oscar she previously received.

Until this year, “12 Years a Slave” was the only acting Oscar-nominated film Nyong’o had appeared in. Two of her cast mates in the 2014 Best Picture winner – Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender – respectively competed for the male lead and supporting prizes but eventually lost to “Dallas Buyers Club” duo Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. The films on Nyong’o’s resume have amassed 34 Oscar bids and seven wins, but she has yet to receive a second nomination.

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Bassett’s notice for reprising her role of Wakandan Queen Ramonda constitutes her first supporting Oscar bid and comes 29 years after she received her sole lead one for “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” As legendary singer Tina Turner, she was ultimately bested by “The Piano” star Holly Hunter. Aside from Laurence Fishburne, who was recognized in 1994 for his portrayal of Turner’s husband, Bassett has seen just two more costars earn nominations directly after working with her: Denzel Washington (Best Actor, “Malcolm X,” 1993) and Meryl Streep (Best Actress, “Music of the Heart,” 2000).

The precedent of a former Best Supporting Actress winner appearing in a film for which someone else would go on to win the same award was established in 1942 by Hattie McDaniel. Just two years after she was feted for “Gone with the Wind,” she watched her “The Great Lie” cast mate Mary Astor also take the featured female prize. In the 80 years since, there have been 10 similar instances and another five involving lead actresses.

In 1976, Lee Grant’s featured win for “Shampoo” made Goldie Hawn (Best Supporting Actress, “Cactus Flower,” 1970) the only repeat entrant on this list, as she had already acted alongside 1973 champion Eileen Heckart in “Butterflies Are Free.” The other supporting cases that occurred before the turn of the century involved Anne Revere (“National Velvet,” 1946) and Celeste Holm (“Gentleman’s Agreement,” 1948), Wendy Hiller (“Separate Tables,” 1959) and Ingrid Bergman (“Murder on the Orient Express,” 1975), Gloria Grahame (“The Bad and the Beautiful,” 1953) and Mary Steenburgen (“Melvin and Howard,” 1981), and Olympia Dukakis (“Moonstruck,” 1988) and Mira Sorvino (“Mighty Aphrodite,” 1996).

Vanessa Redgrave (“Julia,” 1978) and Whoopi Goldberg (“Ghost,” 1991) both joined the group by appearing in “Girl, Interrupted,” for which Angelina Jolie won the 2000 supporting trophy. They were then followed by Steenburgen and Octavia Spencer (“The Help,” 2012) and Rita Moreno (“West Side Story,” 1962) and Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story,” 2022).

The five instances of Best Actress victors later appearing in films that won the same award involved Helen Hayes (“The Sin of Madelon Claudet,” 1932) and Bergman (“Anastasia,” 1957), Jane Fonda (“Klute,” 1972; “Coming Home,” 1979) and Katharine Hepburn (“On Golden Pond,” 1982), Streep (“Sophie’s Choice,” 1983) and Nicole Kidman (“The Hours,” 2003), Kathy Bates (“Misery,” 1991) and Sandra Bullock (“The Blind Side,” 2010), and Emma Stone (“La La Land,” 2017) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite,” 2019).

Nyong’o and Bassett would be only the fifth pair on this general list to consist of a younger previous winner and an older new champion. They will have been preceded in this regard by Hawn and Heckart, Hawn and Grant, Fonda and Hepburn, and Stone and Colman. Their 24-year age gap would be the seventh largest among any of these pairs, after Moreno and DeBose (59), Redgrave and Jolie (38), Dukakis and Sorvino (36), Fonda and Hepburn (30), Grahame and Steenburgen (29), and Hawn and Heckart (26).

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