Bassett Joins Elite Company
On January 9th, acclaimed actress Angela Bassett was presented with an Honorary Oscar trophy at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 14th Governors Awards.
With the honor, Bassett becomes only the second Black actress after Cicely Tyson to receive an honorary Academy Award for career contributions.
In an elegant acceptance speech, Bassett expressed gratitude for the recognition of her nearly 40-year body of acting work.
“I have considered acting my calling and not just my career,” she remarked. “I do this work because I find it meaningful, and I hope in some way that it makes a difference and has an impact.”
Paying Tribute to Trailblazers
A visibly emotional Bassett also used her platform to pay homage to trailblazing Black actresses like Hattie McDaniel, Ruby Dee, Diahann Carroll and others who paved the way.
“It was standing on their strong, spiritually fortified shoulders that I often was sustained,” she stated.
Bassett cited these women and more as her “North Star” in navigating an entertainment industry where Black women have historically been marginalized. In that context, she dedicated the award to women who persist in spite of being silenced or defeated.
Passing the Torch
In addition, Bassett spoke directly to today’s generation of Black actresses. She name-checked stars like Jennifer Hudson, Halle Berry and Viola Davis as “beacons of possibility and hope” for young girls of color with Hollywood dreams.
“To my fellow Black actresses, fill your hearts with courage and strength,” Basset urged, reminding them their work matters and brings joy. She closed by expressing her hope that diverse representation becomes the norm rather than the exception in the future.
With her moving words and yet another honor to her credit, Angela Bassett continues to inspire as well as capture the admiration of peers and fans alike. Her Governors Awards speech will likely hold special meaning for many.