7 Roles Angela Bassett Should Have Won An Oscar For

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angela bassett roles
US actress Angela Bassett accepts the Academy Honorary Award during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 14th Annual Governors Awards at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Los Angeles on January 9, 2024. (Photo by Robyn BECK / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
Bassett should have gotten her first Oscar in 1994!

In a career that has spanned decades, Angela Bassett has delivered awe-inspiring performances that have been deserving of an Oscar. Over the years, she has consistently proved her strengths on the big screen. From her early breakthrough in What’s Love Got To Do With It to her commanding presence in blockbuster hits like Black Panther, her talent has never been in doubt. Despite this, for years, the prestigious Oscar eluded her deserving grasp. 

On January 9, 2024, at the 14th Annual Governor’s Awards in LA, the actress was awarded an honorary Oscar. However, that certainly should not have been her very first statuette, considering how many brilliant performances she has given over the years. In her dense filmography, many roles should have secured Bassett the coveted award, at least once. Here are seven of her most powerful and Oscar-deserving roles to date. 

7. Tanya Anderson (Akeelah And The Bee)

Bassett’s performance in this 2006 movie stands as a testament to her ability to bring authenticity to any role. In this heartwarming drama, she portrays the mother of the titular character, played by Keke Palmer. While the movie may not have garnered widespread acclaim, her contribution to its emotional impact is undeniable. Although Angela Bassett did not even receive an Oscar nomination for this role, her performance was certainly worthy of winning one for Best Supporting Actress. 

6. Janet Williams (Music of the Heart)

In this 1999 biographical musical drama film, Bassett portrays school principal Janet Williams. Most people would be overshadowed by starring alongside Meryl Streep. However, Bassett shines in her supporting role, delivering an understated and sublime performance. Her portrayal of Janet Williams is unforgettable, and one of the best parts of the film. Unfortunately, Angela Bassett was not recognized by the Academy for this performance and did not receive an Oscar nomination. Regardless, it remains a powerful entry in her catalog as an actress. 

5. Stella Payne (How Stella Got Her Groove Back)

Released on August 14, 1998, How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a sexy romantic comedy-drama film. In the movie, Bassett takes on the role of Stella Payne, a successful but emotionally reserved career woman. Her portrayal of Stella is a masterclass in capturing the intricacies of a character undergoing personal transformation. Moreover, she skillfully navigates Stella’s journey from a place of emotional guardedness to rediscovering love and passion. In addition, the chemistry between Bassett and co-star Taye Diggs is palpable, making the romantic narrative very believable. 

4. Betty Shabazz (Malcolm X)

After seeing Malcolm X (1992), everyone can agree that Denzel Washington deserved his Oscar nomination. However, given her performance in the film, Angela Bassett easily should have received an Oscar nomination as well. As a matter of fact, with this role, she should have won in the Best Supporting Actress category. Despite the disappointing turn of events that left her without even a nomination, Bassett’s portrayal of Betty Shabazz is a masterclass in subtlety and strength. Throughout the movie, she showcased a depth that resonated beyond the confines of the screen. 

3. Bernadine Harris (Waiting To Exhale)

Portraying a woman grappling with the challenges of a crumbling marriage and the pursuit of self-discovery, Angela Bassett shines. Without a doubt, this is one of the actress’ best performances ever. Bassett infused Bernadine with a potent mix of strength, vulnerability, and resilience as she fleshed out this character. Also worthy of note is the chemistry between the cast members, including Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon. Although no Oscar buzz followed, Angela Bassett certainly gave one of the best performances of 1995 in this film. 

2. Queen Ramonda (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

While Bassett gave a stellar performance in the first Black Panther film, it was in Wakanda Forever that she shone the brightest. Playing Queen Ramonda, she put her heart and soul into this performance, and it was plain to see on-screen. Comic book movies are very rarely recognized, especially in the acting categories. However, with her electrifying performance on Wakanda Forever, Angela Bassett secured her second-ever Oscar nomination. While she did not win, many believe she was robbed, and deserved that award more than all other nominees. 

1. Tina Turner (What’s Love Got To Do With It)

Bassett’s performance as Tina Turner is arguably her most lauded role to date. Many regard it to be the actress’ magnum opus, and understandably so. In this 1993 biographical film, she left it all on the floor. Her portrayal of the Queen of Rock & Roll is nothing short of a revelation. The raw emotion, magnetic stage presence, and vulnerability she brought to the character were nearly unbelievable. Certainly, it came as no surprise when Angela Bassett received her first Oscar nomination for the role. However, it surprised many when she didn’t win the award at the 1994 ceremony. Without a doubt, this role should have secured Bassett’s first Oscar win, but it unfortunately wasn’t so. Nevertheless, it remains a performance that continues to echo through the halls of cinematic history.

About The Author
Demilade Phillips has been a Features Writer for HotNewHipHop since 2023. The self-proclaimed music fanatic deals with most things Hip Hop and RnB, while also covering film, television, and the entertainment industry at large. When he’s not working, the International Relations graduate is either binging anime, immersing himself in the underground EDM scene, or crafting up original pieces.