Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Director Ryan Coogler Weighs in on Angela Bassett Becoming Oscar Frontrunner

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler is speaking up about the chances of Angela Bassett walking away with an Oscar for the film. Coogler was out at the opening night of this year's Sundance Film Festival, and the question of Bassett's Oscar chances was certainly hanging in the air, following Black Panther 2's big win at the 2023 Golden Globes, where Angela Bassett won in the category of "Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture" for playing Queen Ramonda in Wakanda Forever. Her performance has also been noted (if not awarded) in so many major critics organizations lists that an Oscar win isn't just possible – it has really good odds behind it

There was a lot asked of Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her character Queen Ramonda was the physical embodiment of all the deep-seated grief and trauma that the people of Wakanda (and the people in the audience) were feeling, following the death of T'Challa actor Chadwick Boseman. That real-life pain was compounded by the in-universe pain Ramonda was feeling, having lost her husband (T'Chaka), her son T'Challa, and half of her kingdom (or more) in The Infinity War against Thanos. It was a balance of pain and strength that may have been beyond most actors – but most actors are NOT Angela Bassett. 

"She's so incredible that sometimes you forget. You know?" Coogler explained. "Her work ethic is insane. I came up playing sports so you notice this working with her, it's like you have an extra coach on the field. I find on days when she's working I can get more done. It's just the truth."

(Photo: Marvel Studios)

To elaborate on that comparison, Coogler described how Angela Bassett leads by example on set with her work ethic: 

"She would do this thing on the first movie where she doesn't really leave set. She stays crazy close, which is nuts for an actor like her. It sets such an amazing example. Nobody wants to go back to the trailer in between when Angela is sitting right next to the camera."

If there was ever a time where a cast and crew needed Angela Bassett's leadership, it was on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The cast has been open about how losign Chadwick Boseman meant that they also lost the captain of their film production. It's also been noted that Bassett was indeed "queen-mother" to the Black Panther crew on the sequel, while actors like Winston Duke (M'Braku) provided much-needed ligth and levity. 

If Bassett wins an Academy Award, it will be the first big Oscar win for Marvel in a major performance (read: non-technical) category, opening a whole new door of prestige for the franchise. 

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will stream on Disney+ in February. 

Via: Variety