When Angela Bassett learned she didn’t win at the 2023 Oscars on Sunday, she didn’t make a scene. There was no fit, there were no tears.
Instead, the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star kept a blank face and slowly turned her head as fellow nominees applauded winner Jamie Lee Curtis.
But some Twitter users felt her subtle reaction made her a “sore loser.”
“Bassett is a fantastic actress. A shame she didn’t continue performing tonight and applaud when Jamie Lee won,” wrote Twitter user @SPisacreta. “Everyone wants to win. However most won’t. That’s life. And sore loser is never a good look.”
The “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star has Twitter divided over her reaction, with critics blasting her for her lack of “class” and fans defending her “heartbroken” moment.
As presenters Troy Kotsur and Ariana DeBose announced Curtis as the winner, fellow nominees Hong Chau, Stephanie Hsu and Kerry Condon smiled and clapped. Bassett was visibly emotional and seemingly did not clap.
“Regardless of who won that Oscar… Angela Bassett could have clapped for the winner. To just sit there and not clap because you didn’t win … #notclassy,” wrote a Twitter user.
Another Twitter user pointed out that “Jamie Lee Curtis applauded” when Bassett won the category at the Golden Globes in January and questioned why that wasn’t reciprocated on Sunday.
Some Bassett fans had an answer.
“ANGELA is HUMAN! She looked heartbroken, given that she worked long and hard to get the top acting award. Angela has been known to be a pleasant and consummate professional. This just seems to be her HUMAN moment,” one Twitter user wrote Monday.
Bassett wasn’t being a “sore loser,” she was “not being fake and whooping and hollering that she was overlooked once again,” another user tweeted Sunday. Bassett was nominated for actress in a leading role for “What’s Love Got to Do with It” in 1994 but did not win. Holly Hunter took home the prize for her work in “The Piano.”
A third Twitter user said calling Bassett a sore loser was an overreaction.
“You would think Angela Bassett got up and walked out the room the way people are chastising her for being a ‘sore loser,’” the user wrote Monday.
Journalist Shanelle Genai said the backlash over Bassett’s reaction “proves ONCE AGAIN the standards y’all place on Black women are asinine & misogynistic as hell.”
Another Twitter fan simply said Monday, “Bassett and the words sore loser shouldn’t be used in the same sentence.”
A representative for Bassett did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment Monday.
Heading into the Oscars, Bassett won the supporting actress award at the Critics’ Choice Awards and the NAACP Image Awards. At the Oscars, Bassett was the only Black woman nominated for an acting award.
After Bassett didn’t win, presenters and “Creed III” stars Michael B. Jordan and Jonathan Majors acknowledged the “Black Panther” star.
“Hey auntie,” said Jordan, who starred with Bassett in “Black Panther.”
“We love you,” Majors added.
Later in the ceremony, Bassett showed support for “Elvis” star Austin Butler, who was seated next to her. The Oscar hopeful in the lead actor category was holding hands with Bassett moments before presenters Halle Berry and Jessica Chastain announced “The Whale” star Brendan Fraser the winner.
“Angela Bassett holding Austin Butler’s hand while he’s nervous…is exactly the kind of woman I imagined she was,” tweeted social media strategist Nadine Babu.