Angela Bassett had been nominated for the Oscars for the first time in 1993 for the movie What’s Love Got to Do with It. Sadly, she did not win it that time, either. However, she disappeared from the industry until 1995. For years, her fans did not know what had happened during that missing time. They assumed that there was just nothing that had grabbed her interest, after being nominated. However, Bassett has now told us what she was doing.
In an interview reposted by The Jasmine Brand, Bassett explains that the reason she did not appear in any movies for 18 months was not that she was waiting for a lead role or anything. There were just no roles being offered to her. Bassett was not worried about being the lead. Eventually, her next role did show up in May of 1995’s Panther. Afterward, she would continue on to do 3 more movies that year, and do at least 1 movie a year up to the present day. Her most recently released movie is Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Where Did Bassett’s Roles Go?
Interestingly, Laurence Fishburne, who was also nominated for the same movie, appears to have been in the same predicament. He did not get another film role until 1995’s Higher Learning. However, it was not as bad for him as it was for Bassett, since he spent the time working on his play, Riff Raff. In addition, Higher Learning, was released in January of 1995, so he was working throughout November-December of 1994.
Hollywood did not decide to just not make black movies for a year. There were a couple, just not very many. The few that were made also generally did not have small budgets. It literally was just a case of there not being enough movies being made for everyone, so the casting directors had free reign to select whoever, and Angela Bassett was just unlucky at being chosen. It also does not help that the majority of her movies at the time were dramas. The only black drama that came out that year was Jason’s Lyric, an erotic romantic drama with a low budget. They would have assumed that Bassett would not accept the role for either of those cases.