Angela Bassett Recalls Holding Hands With Austin Butler During His Oscars Category
Angela Bassett is looking back at a supportive moment between her and Austin Butler at the 2023 Oscars.
When the best actor category was being presented at the ceremony, Butler could be seen holding hands with fellow nominee Bassett, who was seated right next to him. The moment was one in which, Bassett says, she “understood intimately what he felt.”
In a tribute for Butler she penned as part of TIME‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2023 series, the Oscar nominee reflected on the touching moment, as well as when they learned Butler did not win (Brendan Fraser ultimately won the best actor Oscar for The Whale).
“On the evening of the Oscars, with Austin seated next to me, I understood intimately what he felt when it was time to learn if he would climb those stairs to the stage,” Bassett writes. “So, I took his hand and held it softly as the winner was announced. Although his name wasn’t called, Austin is no less a winner.”
Further reflecting on his name not being called for the Oscar win, Bassett writes, “The time had come for Austin to say goodbye to Elvis as he began to embrace an infinite universe of possibilities as an actor. I can’t wait to see what he brings us next.”
Earlier in her tribute, Bassett wrote that she was “fortunate” to become the actor’s friend during the busy awards season and during a time when they were “both starting to find our grooves.”
“We connected in a fleeting moment, one of many when we would share a hug and warm words. Despite all that swirled around him, Austin opened his heart to new friends. I was fortunate to be one of them,” Bassett writes.
Bassett earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tina Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do with It. After watching Butler’s portrayal of Elvis Presley in ElvisBassett writes that she watched the film “with a deep appreciation for all the work” he put into his performance.
“A lot goes into an actor’s finding their way into an icon, not pretending to be them but offering a perspective on the artist as we perform slices of their story,” she continued. “You walk away from that set forever changed. Your hope is that when people see the film, they don’t see you — they see an artist’s journey through a different lens. Austin accomplished this with a brilliantly nuanced performance.”
Ahead of the ceremony, Bassett received her second career Oscar nomination for her performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Foreverr; however, Jamie Lee Curtis won best supporting actress for Everything Everywhere All at Once.
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