Inside Angela Bassett’s Extraordinary Night at the Oscars


2021’s Academy Awards was an unprecedented experience: just ask Angela Bassett. The cinema legend was on hand to present at last night’s ceremony, and as always, she brought glamour to the occasion. As one of the few awards season events to be recorded live and in person, it was a chance to get back to a sense of normalcy. Bassett knows the drill, having been both a nominee and a presenter. Still, the safety precautions put in place due to COVID-19 made the pre-show process unique. “Preparing to attend the Oscars this year was certainly different due to all of the necessary precautions to keep us all safe in the midst of an ongoing pandemic,” share Bassett via email from Los Angeles. “The Oscars production team and the Academy implemented strict protocols for everyone, which is appreciated. So, in addition to thinking about all that goes into getting ready to go to the Oscars—and there is a lot—my foremost thought has been most importantly keeping me, my family, and my glam team safe throughout the journey.” 

The added considerations didn’t stop Bassett from turning up in one of the night’s best outfits. Working with stylist Jennifer Austin, makeup artist D’Andre Michael, and hairstylist Randy Stoghill, Bassett crafted a look filled with drama. With its crimson crepe fabric, off-the-shoulder design, and dramatic puff-sleeves, her dramatic Alberta Ferretti gown spoke to a love of fashion with personality. “For tonight, my team put together a fierce look that elevated the game, and I couldn’t be happier!” says Bassett. “What I love most is glamour that exudes strength, power, and of course, fun! Red is one of my favorite go-to colors because it represents fire to me. It’s like having my own inner superpower that’s personal and unique to me.” 

Accessorized with Chopard diamond and ruby drop earrings, a playful lips clutch by Judith Lieber, Louboutin heels, and a swipe of electric blue eyeshadow, the look was just right for a modern movie star. Best of all, Bassett had a blast getting ready with her team. “I think what they do is absolutely magical because they each bring something incredibly special to this process,” she says. “I feel fortunate because all I have to do is show up and trust that when they’re done, I will look and feel like a queen.” 

The regality Bassett has brought to her work in films like Black Panther and What’s Love Got to Do With It was in full force the moment she stepped onto the carpet at Union Station. The evening’s spirit of reemergence and artistic triumph struck a chord. “After the devastating year we’ve all witnessed and experienced (and continue to appreciate the need to practice measures to keep us all safe), it does feel good to go out, even if just for a night,” says Bassett. “To celebrate the extraordinary work of many friends and colleagues and feel confident and beautiful while doing it.” 

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