Angela Bassett's Husband Courtney B. Vance Still Feels the Pain of Her First Oscars Loss

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Anyone who has followed Angela Bassett’s career has an opinion about her two Oscar nominations — the first in 1994 for her heartbreaking portrayal of Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It?, and the second in 2023 for work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She didn’t go home with the Oscar either time, but her fans aren’t the only ones who feel like she got robbed. Her husband, Courtney B. Vance, still feels the sting of his wife’s first loss.

Bassett was given an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in January, recognizing the scope of her career from Boyz n the Hood to Waiting to Exhale. But it hasn’t been easy for Black artists to win Oscars, and Halle Berry remains the only Black woman to have won Best Actress in 95 years of the show. It’s a downright shocking statistic. So, Vance was thrilled that Bassett was finally praised for her talents by her peers, but the pain from 1994 still lives with him.

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WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?, Angela Bassett, 1993"
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?, Angela Bassett, 1993.

“The honorary Oscar was a wonderful night, but I flashed back to 30 years ago when they didn’t call her name, and then when they didn’t call her name last March,” he told People. “This was an opportunity for her to stand up there. A lot of people saw it, but not the billion people that would see it at the Oscars. But it meant everything to her.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 03: (L-R) Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance attend the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/GA/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 03: (L-R) Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance attend the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on December 03, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.

It’s easy to say that everyone who was nominated in the Best Actress category in 1994 was a winner — they are — but only one person goes home with the prize that night. That person was Holly Hunter, who won the Oscar for The Piano. Stockard Channing, Emma Thompson, and Debra Winger were all nominees with Bassett that year and put in worthy performances. But it’s the 65-year-old actress’ work that is the most memorable one 30 years later. Vance may hold a grudge against the Academy voters, but Bassett has a different approach to the idea that she was “robbed” of the Oscar in 1994.

“Of course, in the moment you’re hoping and praying and wishing,” Bassett told Gayle King last year. “But I never walk away thinking, ‘I’ve been robbed.’ That’s too negative of an emotion to carry with me for the rest of my life. I choose to believe there was a reason why it didn’t happen.” Well, there are plenty of people who will continue to have the discussion for her because Bassett embodied every ounce of emotion, hurt, love, and sadness Turner went through in her marriage to Ike Turner.

Before you go, click here to see the most iconic roles played by Black women in movies & TV.

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