Angela Bassett Shares 2021 Oscars Secrets and Award Show Highlights

This year’s Oscars ceremony was quite a bit different from years past, and Angela Bassett says she appreciated every minute. The actress opened up to ET about some of her favorite experiences from the big night — including Glenn Close’s viral dance moment.

“I got to tell her I love that!” Bassett told ET’s Kevin Frazier while reflecting on the hilariously unexpected impromptu performance from Close late in the show on Sunday.

Ahead of the final categories presented for the night, Lil Rel Howery hosted a game with some celebs in attendance, where he’d have them listen to a song and guess if it won an Oscar, was just nominated, or wasn’t nominated at all.

After playing with Andra Day and Daniel Kaluuya, Howery made his way to Close, and played School Daze‘s “Da Butt.” Much to everyone’s surprise, Close was very familiar with the song — knowing not only it’s backstory, and that it wasn’t nominated, but also how to dance to it.

Bassett couldn’t help but marvel at Close’s scene-stealing moment, sharing, “That’s a highlight for the ages.”

For now and forever. pic.twitter.com/eqkdtI6Cme

The totally unexpected dance and song game came shortly before Bassett took the stage for a significantly more somber segment. The celebrated actress was tapped to introduce this year’s particularly emotional “In Memoriam” tribute, which honored the many stars who have died over the last year.

The segment concluded with a tribute to Chadwick Boseman, whose death in August shook Hollywood immensely. Boseman was posthumously nominated for Best Actor at Sunday’s show, and Bassett said his inclusion in the segment this year made it even more poignant.

“That portion of the awards is [always] so touching, because we’ve been inspired by so many of those artists who’ve gone on to make their transition. But of course, you know, this [was] a big year — and a great love, a great artist and a great man has made the transition,” she shared. “The world just mourned him and loved him so along with so many others.”

“To see Chadwick, it was as if there were even more of a weight for me,” she added. “So it was an honor for me to be a part of this ceremony, and especially the In Memoriam.”

One of the award show’s biggest changes was the venue itself. Due to COVID-19 protocols and safety efforts, the show this year featured far fewer people and was held at Los Angeles’ Union Station instead of the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, where it’s been hosted for years.

However, Bassett said this particular change actually proved to create a better experience for those in attendance. 

“It’s really quite a beautiful vibe, it’s very relaxed and chill,” Bassett said of the iconic train station. “What we’re used to with the Oscars, it’s just crazy. Everyone’s cramped and packed… [but at Union Station], it’s still just as exciting, but you actually get to have some conversation.”

For more on this year’s star-studded show, check out the video below.

Here is the complete Oscars winners list, as well as the biggest moments from the Oscars.

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