The 2024 Critics' Choice Awards was a night filled with laughter, celebration and recognition of outstanding achievements in the film and television industry. As per usual, jokes were thrown around here and there, directed at some of the nominees. And ultimately, some the quips landed better than others. Ariana DeBose found herself at the center of one particular dig over her singing abilities and, while she seemed fine in the moment, she later shared her true thoughts.
During the awards ceremony, The Last of Us' Bella Ramsey presented “Best Original Song” alongside Tranformers: Rise of the Beasts' Anthony Ramos. While presenting, the stars read off a joke directed at some of the singing actors within the category, suggesting they may not be able to sing as well as they think they can. Ramsey said:
And then there are the actors who also think that they're singers: Jack Black, Ariana DeBose, and Ken himself, Ryan Gosling.
This joke may be playful for the men in that group, as Ryan Gosling’s musical stint in Barbie is played for laughs. Also, Jack Black’s rendition of "Peaches" from The Super Mario Bros. Movie is certainly more about theatricality than singing ability. However, in the case of Ariana DeBose, she has made a career out of her singing talents and is known for her roles in musicals like Hamilton and West Side Story, the latter of which won her an Oscar. The choice for her to be included in the pun was admittedly an odd one.
There was subsequently a lot of speculation online about how the actress really felt about the jab and if she was laughing to be polite or may have been offended. She made her feelings known later that evening when she posted a message on her Instagram story, stating that she did not find the joke funny. You can see the post below:
While the intention of the bit was more to point out the singing actors in the category, the joke felt under-researched and came across as ignorant to some. One could make that assertion, considering that the Kraven the Hunter star is a Tony winner and is well respected for her singing abilities within the Broadway community.
Award show presenters and hosts have had a tough go of it this season, as jokes haven’t really been landing well with talent involved. There’s no better example than Jo Koy’s jokes at the Golden Globes, which prompted a silent, but telling reaction from Taylor Swift, and major some shade from the Barbie team in attendance due to a "plastic doll with big boobs joke."
As a whole, host Chelsea Handler’s quips and the written presenter bits went over a lot better at the Critics Choice Awards. Still, it's hard not to take notice of the jab that was sent Ariana DeBose's way. Few would deny that she's an incredible talent and her contributions to the new Disney animated film, Wish, are truly remarkable. So, the pun aside, it's fair to say that her work speaks for itself.
You can see Ariana DeBose lending her singing talents to Wish, which is currently available to preorder on Amazon. You can also see her incredible Oscar winning performance in 2021’s West Side Story, which is streaming now for Disney+ subscribers.