Ariana DeBose fans are slamming Sunday night’s Critics Choice Awards for a presenter’s joke about the Oscar winner’s singing.
During the presentation of the best song category, presenters Bella Ramsey and Anthony Ramos said that the category’s nominees included “some of the most famous voices in the music industry” and then listed Billie Eilish, Lenny Kravitz, Dua Lipa — “who are all fire, we love them all,” Ramos said. And then Ramsey added, “then there are the actors who also think they’re singers: Jack Black, Ariana DeBose and, Ken himself, Ryan Gosling.”
More from The Hollywood Reporter
The camera then cut to DeBose in the audience looking a bit surprised and perplexed, though not actually upset.
The inclusion of DeBose in the joke struck many as rather unfair given she’s an accomplished Broadway musical star (including being a member of the original cast of Hamilton) and won an Oscar for her acting-singing performance Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. At the same time, even the joke’s most vocal critics were quick to not blame the 20-year-old Ramsey, as the crack seemed like scripted awards show teleprompter humor, not something actually opined by The Last of Us star.
DeBose herself wrote on Instagram: “No, I didn’t find it funny” and added “lol.”
Her supporters on X were more outraged:
— “Poor Bella Ramsey having to deliver that HORRIBLY JUDGED “joke” about Ariana DeBose but BLESS the director for actually cutting to her intensely confused reaction and holding on it for so long.”
— “The way they insulted Ariana DeBose?!?! Calling her an actress who thinks she can sing. Girl. GIRL!!!!! I’m sorry, you said that about someone from the OG cast of Hamilton? Google someone before you approve the joke omg”
— “I won’t blame young Bella, the presenter … but how DARE a writer for the intro label Ariana, a Broadway triple threat, with the smarmy category of “actors who think they can sing.” Get a clue. Fact check. Apologize. Change your job.”
That said, the joke’s writer might have been referencing DeBose’s rap performance at last year’s British Academy Film Awards, which was mocked and went viral. Producer Nick Bullen said criticism of the bit was “incredibly unfair” and said, “[people] in the room absolutely loved it.”
Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” won the best song award. The Barbie star’s confused reaction to the win also went viral.
Best of The Hollywood Reporter