Yes, Angela Bassett can win the Oscar for a comic book movie: Just ask these 2 Jokers

The 2023 awards season started out with a bang for Angela Bassett. She won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for playing Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and looked to be on her way to taking home her first career Oscar. But when she lost the BAFTA to Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and the SAG Award to Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), awards pundits started wondering aloud whether Bassett could really win Best Supporting Actress for a — gulp — comic book movie? Are superhero flicks pretentious enough to win over all those sophisticated, high-brow Oscar voters?

The answer is yes. Just ask Heath Ledger and Joaquin Phoenix.

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It seems like everyone has already forgotten that two different Jokers won acting prizes in recent years: Ledger in Best Supporting Actor for “The Dark Knight” (2008) and Phoenix in Best Actor for “Joker” (2019)? Okay, sure, those were both DC movies and Bassett stars in a Marvel film. But isn’t that a distinction without a difference? Does the average Oscar voter know (or even care) about which comic book franchise is nominated, when it’s the performance they’re voting on?

SEE Oscar predictions in all 23 categories

It goes without saying, but voting for the first-ever Marvel Cinematic Universe acting nominee won’t lose Academy members any awards cred. In fact, it may make them appear cooler than ever to those outside the industry. (You know, the people who watch the Oscars on TV or on their phones.)

“Wakanda Forever” is clearly a film with lots of Academy support, as it scored five total bids: supporting actress, original song (“Lift Me Up”), makeup & hairstyling, costume design and visual effects. And four years ago, the original “Black Panther” won Marvel its first three Oscars ever: costumes, production design and score.

Bassett dominates every moment of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” with sheer regal ferocity, so it seems silly to think she can’t win an Oscar simply because her movie is adapted from a comic book. During Ryan Coogler‘s “Black Panther” sequel, Queen Ramonda keeps charge of Wakanda after the death of her son, King T’Challa. Obviously, the real-life backstory is that Chadwick Boseman died shockingly in between the first and second movies, and so all of the pain and emotion you see on screen on Ramonda’s face was coming from a place of truth.

SEEAngela Bassett (‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’): Oscar without BAFTA or SAG? Just ask Regina King

At 64 years old, Bassett is a beloved Hollywood veteran who’s worked with virtually everyone in the industry, whether in films like “What’s Love Got to Do with It” (1993) and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” (1998) or TV shows like “9-1-1” and “American Horror Story.” To date, she has only one other Oscar nomination to her name for “WLGTDWI,” for which she won the Golden Globe.

Is the timing finally right for Bassett to ascend to the Oscar podium? She still leads the wide-open Best Supporting Actress race, according to Gold Derby odds. Remember, Bassett claimed the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award. But Condon scored at BAFTA. And Curtis took the SAG Award. Then Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) won our own Gold Derby Award. Hong Chau (“The Whale”) previously proved victorious with the New York Film Critics. In other words, it’s still anyone’s game.

PREDICTthe 2023 Oscar winners through March 12

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