Ariana DeBose has reacted to the “disrespectful” joke that was made about her and her fellow nominees at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night (15 January).
When it comes to awards shows, Ariana DeBose’s nights are typically a hit or a miss – from making history as the first queer woman of colour to win an Oscar, to going viral for the eccentric rap she performed while opening the BAFTAs.
On Sunday night, the West Side Story actress made one of her less favourable awards ceremony memories at the Critics’ Choice Awards, where she was up for Best Song.
Ariana DeBose was up for Best Song at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Getty Images)
DeBose was nominated for her performance of the song “This Wish” from Disney’s 2023 animated film Wish.
She was up against other heavy-hitters like Ryan Gosling and Mark Ronson’s “I’m Just Ken”, Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Dua Lipa and Mark Ronson’s “Dance the Night” from Barbie, Jack Black’s “Peaches” from The Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Lenny Kravitz’s “Road to Freedom” from Rustin.
What should have been a thrilling moment for DeBose quickly morphed into a disappointment when her category was introduced by her Hamilton Broadway co-star Anthony Ramos and The Last Of Us star Bella Ramsey.
Addressing the audience, Ramsey began: “This batch of best song nominees are masterfully crafted works of art, delivered by some of the most famous voices in the music industry.”
Anthony Ramos then listed out examples like Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, and Lenny Kravitz.
Bella Ramsey and Anthony Ramos presented the award for Best Song. (Getty Images)
Ramsey continued: “And then there are the actors who also think they’re singers: Jack Black, Ariana DeBose, and Ken himself, Ryan Gosling.”
When the camera panned to DeBose, she looked confused if not a little bit unimpressed.
While Gosling and Black may be better known for their acting than their music, DeBose started out in Broadway shows like Bring It On: The Musical, MoTown: The Musical, Pippin, and Hamilton, before she went on to star in film and television titles like Schmigadoon!, The Prom, and West Side Story – the latter of which earned her an Academy Award, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award, and a SAG Award.
That’s why viewers watching from home were just as confused as DeBose looked when the joke was made.
Ariana DeBose looked confused after the joke was made. (Critics’ Choice Awards)
One person tweeted: “Y’all been real disrespectful to my girl Ariana DeBose lately she can sing her heart out like she ate up in West Side Story don’t do her. And also hearing her sing for Wish, she was also amazing in that as well.”
Another baffled viewer commented: “Calling Ariana DeBose, a literal BROADWAY star and Academy Award winner for a musical, an actor who thinks they can sing is crazy.”
A third joked: “There must be another Ariana DeBose bc I know you’re not talking about Tony nominated Oscar award winner for a musical role Ariana DeBose.”
And, ensuring that the queer actress knew how much she was valued by her fans, a fourth wrote: “Good morning to Ariana DeBose, an award-winning singing/dancing/acting triple threat who has spent her career showcasing her impressive range, providing necessary representation for queer kids, and entertaining us all.”
Shortly after the ceremony ended, DeBose made her feelings about the joke known. Taking to her Instagram Story, she simply wrote: “No I didn’t find it funny. Lol.”
The following day, a source told The Daily Mail that, despite her frustrations about the joke, DeBose “doesn’t blame” Ramsey, who delivered the joke on the night.
“She feels bad that they made [them] deliver it,” said the insider.
Ariana addressed the joke in a post to Instagram after the awards. (Instagram/@arianadebose)
“Clearly, they didn’t do their homework because they would have known she is a well-trained Broadway singer who has been widely recognized for her musical talent.
“It low-key ruined her evening and was clearly done to get people talking about a show that literally no one cares about.”
In the end, it was Ryan Gosling – who is also a musician, by the way – who took home the award for his performance of “I’m Just Ken.”
It comes just days after Billie Eilish took home the Golden Globe for Best Original Song for another Barbie movie track, “What Was I Made For?”