Angela Bassett watched Austin Butler prepare for the Best Actor Oscars. The actress spoke about holding his hand in a short essay that was published with a TIME 100 tribute to Butler that was released today. Butler was in contention for the Best Actor award alongside Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, Paul Mescal, and Brendan Fraser, with the latter ultimately winning.
“On Oscar night, with Austin sitting next to me, I understood exactly how he felt when it came time to know if he was going up those stairs to the stage,” Bassett wrote. “So I took his hand and held it gently while the winner was announced. Although his name was not mentioned, Austin is no less a winner.” (deadline)
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Bassett herself was nominated for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Much has been written about her apparent disappointment when her name was not given. But she was much more understanding of what not winning can mean. The loss of Butler is not the end but a beginning for Butler, who can now shed his “Elvis” persona.
“It was time for Austin to say goodbye to Elvis when he began to explore an infinite universe of possibilities as an actor. I can’t wait to see what he brings us next.” Butler and Bassett met at the awards ceremony and hit it off quickly. “Despite everything around him, Austin opened his heart to new friends,” Bassett said. “I was lucky enough to be one of them.”(deadline)
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Bassett, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Tina Tuner in the 1993 film What’s Love Got To Do With It, knows how hard it can be to shake off strong characterization.