Year after year, film fans, critics, and the generally curious flock to their screens to watch the annual installment of film’s biggest awards ceremony.
The event promises glitz and glam as the Hollywood A-list prepares for a long night of announcements, anticipation and applause, while also enjoying snippets from certain films new and old, as well as a host who is generally elected for their showmanship.
This year, however, many fans across the globe were shocked, and even outraged by some of the selections by the academy.
The most talked about one being the major upset seeing Anthony Hopkins, nominated for his work in The Father beating the late Chadwick Boseman in the always heavily contested best actor category.
Boseman, who succumbed to a lengthy three year battle against colon cancer in late August in 2020 was nominated for the best actor in George C. Wolf’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, and best supporting actor in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” .
Boseman, recently associated with having regal status in Hollywood, was known for his groundbreaking work portraying the likes of the King of Soul James Brown to legal legend Thurgood Marshall. Furthermore, nobody could ever forget his captivating and gripping portrayal of one of Marvel’s greatest heroes in “Black Panther”.
The decision to snub Boseman of a posthumous oscar sent many fans into a spiral of anger and confusion, while even local bookmakers, who had picked Boseman as the favourite to win the best actor award, were left reeling after the academy’s decision to award Hopkins ahead of Boseman.
The films Boseman was nominated for received critical acclaim far and wide. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, follows a strong willed, highly regarded blues singer as she endures a turbulent recording session in 1920s Chicago.
Boseman’s role is that of “Levee Green”, a member of Ma Rainey’s (played by Viola Davis) ensemble with ambitions of signing his own record deal and breaking away from the shadow cast by the sheer magnitude of Ma Rainey’s stardom.
The film received critical acclaim early on, with Boseman winning prestigious awards such as Best International Actor award at the AACTA awards in March 2021, as well as a Golden Globe in February 2021. Many have dubbed this to be Boseman’s best performance in his career.
Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, Michael B. Jordan, friend and co-star of Boseman in Black Panther, says he believes that regardless of the academy snubbing Boseman’s efforts, “there is no reward that can validate his legacy”. His work will remain in the hearts and minds of films that are bound to inspire and uplift all who set eyes upon them.
While not being awarded an Oscar for his efforts is disappointing, everyone will look back on Boseman with great respect for his service to film. His compelling method and pristine execution of portraying some of history’s greatest names will live on forever.