Ariana DeBose’s Iconic BAFTA Shout-Outs, Ranked

Angela Bassett must be so confused.

Ariana DeBose Rap BAFTA

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Not to be outdone by the Golden Globes or the Oscars, the BAFTAs have pulled off a Hail Mary thanks to Ariana De Bose and her unforgettable rap tribute.

DeBose kicked off the 76th British Academy of Film and Television Art Awards (BAFTAs) with a performance for the ages. While it’s been widely panned as more than a little cringey, it’s honestly kind of impressive that Ariana DeBose, Broadway darling and Oscar-winning actress, managed to do that. At least she brought a little pizazz to the BAFTAs, which was recently criticised for the stark lack of diversity in its award winners (all 49 winners were white).

So, forget the actual awards: I’m creating my own award categories to celebrate Ariana De Bose’s opening rap in all its cringey glory.

Most Actor Shoutouts

The majority of DeBose’s incredible rap focused on one person at a time, but there were a few double ups and one clear frontrunner. Director Georgia Oakley and producer Hélène Sifre got an early shoutout with their film Blue Jean, or “the one” in DeBose’s words. Directors Elena Sánchez Bellot and Maia Kenworthy and their “grand teamwork” were tied second.

But the clear winner was the rapid-fire shoutout of Hong Chau, Dolly de Leon, Kerry Condon, and Carey Mulligan, who will henceforth be known as “Hong Chau, Dolly de, Kerry and Carey with a C”. Congrats to Chau, who gets to keep her full name.

Hong Chau Dolly de Leon Kerry Condon


Most Confusing Line

A tough one. The entire rap was a befuddling fever dream, and every line played its part. It started off strong with a comparatively definitive “the category is outstanding debut”, and proceeded to run through the list of nominees of “Outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer”. Clear enough, but “Electric Malady, Marie girl, what a slay” deserves a mention for its awkward rhyme.

Then, before DeBose set her sights on the “other ladies in the room”, she mentioned Sandy Powell and her historic BAFTA Fellowship win, the first time it was awarded to a costume designer. Worth a shoutout for sure, but undeniably quite confusing..?

But the winner for Most Confusing Line ultimate goes to “Jaime Lee, you are all of us”. Huh? Why?

Jaime Lee Curtis BAFTA


Best Live Reaction

I can’t decide if the cutaways to each of the actresses as DeBose called them out made the rap better or worse, but I am glad they happened. The diverse range of responses made the performance all the more memorable: Ana de Armas’ eyebrow raise still haunts me; Kerry Condon looks quietly concerned; and Emma Thompson just looks happy to be there.

But Viola Davis takes home the easy win with her immaculate vibes in the background of DeBose’s frenetic energy. And it looked like she was just about to celebrate her moment in the rap too. A true woman king.

Viola Davis Ariana DeBose BAFTA


Best Line Overall

There’s never been a clearer winner than right here, folks. Thanks to the sheer power of DeBose’s iconic delivery and accompanying choreography, doing “the thing” is no longer solely in the domain of peak millennial behaviour online, but forever bounded to an unsuspecting Angela Bassett. Despite making history bringing home Marvel’s first Golden Globe in an acting category (with an Oscar likely to follow) I fear that Angela Bassett’s legacy will now forever be: she did the thing.

Watch the legacy be born here: