Angela Bassett wrote a heartwarming essay about Austin Butler in which she praised the Elvis actor for opening his heart to new friends like her — and empathized with him about how he must have felt at the moment that he lost the Oscar for best actor.
Bassett wrote her kind words in Butler’s section of Time Magazine‘s list of The 100 Most Influential People of 2023.
The acclaimed actress undoubtedly felt empathy for Butler’s loss on the night of the 95th Academy Awards, considering that it was the same night that she lost the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever to Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Jamie Lee Curtis. Bassett was previously nominated for best actress at the 1994 Oscars for her role as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It. She lost that night to Holly Hunter for her role in The Piano.
Here’s what Angela Bassett had to say about Austin Butler
“The first time I met Austin Butler, we were both starting to find our grooves in what promised to be a busy awards season. 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 wrote.
The Contact, American Horror Story, and Soul actress went on to congratulate him for his achievements in Elvis, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor. Though the prize ultimately went to Brendan Fraser for The Whale, Bassett says she empathized with him the moment that his name wasn’t called.
“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. 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,” she wrote.
It’s hard not to notice Bassett’s empathetic tone in her piece about Butler, which must come from personal experience — Time described her reaction to losing the best supporting actress prize as “a small sad smile.”
Butler’s reaction to losing the Oscar was less a sad smile and more of a gracious but disappointed nod of the head.
Perhaps in her essay, Bassett is offering Butler the empathy that she would want for herself in a tough moment like losing an Oscar to a worthy competitor. And it goes without saying that Bassett is no less of a winner, either.
Main Image: Angela Bassett (upper left) and Austin Butler (third in the upper row) react to learning they didn’t win the Oscar (2023). Photo Credit: The Oscars / ABC.