After her stunning performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Angela Bassett has emerged as the best supporting actress front-runner for this year’s Oscars. Ryan Coogler, the film’s director, spoke with Variety yesterday (Jan. 19) and delved into his admiration for the veteran actress.

“She’s so incredible that sometimes you forget. You know?” Coogler said. “Her work ethic is insane. I came up playing sports, so you notice this working with her, it’s like you have an extra coach on the field. I find on days when she’s working I can get more done. It’s just the truth.”

He also reflected about her unwavering dedication while filming the first Black Panther back in 2017. “She would do this thing on the first movie where she doesn’t really leave set. She stays crazy close, which is nuts for an actor like her. It sets such an amazing example. Nobody wants to go back to the trailer in-between when Angela is sitting right next to the camera,” he added.

Should Bassett take home the Oscar for best supporting actress this year, she’ll become the first actor to win an Academy Award for playing a character in a Marvel movie. The 64-year-old talent already made history at the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month for this exact feat. Throughout her career, she has played iconic roles in films like Malcolm X, Boyz N The Hood and What’s Love Got To Do With It?, the last of which earned her an Academy Award nomination for her role as Tina Turner.

In related news, Bassett will also be honored with the Montecito Award at the 38th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival in February 2023. The event will take place from Feb. 8-18 and the official schedule includes screenings, industry Q&As, panels, tributes and more.