Ariana DeBose and Bella Ramsey are all good after Critics’ Choice joke

Ariana DeBose at the Critics' Choice Awards 2024

Ariana DeBose and Bella Ramsey have made it clear that they’re all good after an awkward Critics’ Choice Awards joke that didn’t sit well with the Broadway star.

DeBose had told her Instagram followers that she was not impressed after Sunday night’s (15 January) Critics’ Choice Awards, when a “disrespectful” joke was made about her and her fellow nominees.

The joke, read out by Bella Ramsey while presenting the award for Best Song, clearly struck a chord with DeBose, and left viewers at home scratching their heads.

However, at Monday night’s (16 January) Emmy Awards, the two actors reunited and greeted one another with a big hug.

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.

Ariana DeBose at the Critics' Choice Awards 2024
Ariana DeBose was up for Best Song at the Critics’ Choice Awards. (Getty Images)

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.

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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 at the Critics' Choice Awards 2024
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 at the Critics' Choice Awards 2024
Ariana DeBose looked confused after Bella Ramsey read out the joke. (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.” 

Ariana DeBose's Instagram Story reads: "No I didn't find it funny. Lol."
Ariana addressed the joke in a post to Instagram after the awards. (Instagram/@arianadebose)

Thankfully, DeBose harboured no ill will toward Ramsey, who likely had nothing to do with writing the joke and was reading from a prompter.

The two stars were both in attendance at Monday night’s TV Emmy Awards, and were photographed in the audience, hugging it out.

It’s safe to say there are no hard feelings between the two actors. What a relief!

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?”

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