The world was shocked when it was announced that actor Chadwick Boseman had passed away. While most knew him as Marvel's Black Panther he got that role in large part because he had already been noticed by many for a series of strong performances. And his last on screen performance has now become a clear Oscar favorite following his win for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor at the Screen Actors' Guild Awards this past weekend. Boseman's wife accepted the award on his behalf and she quoted her late husband while doing so.
Simone Ledward Boseman began her acceptance speech by thanking a long list of people involved in the production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the Netflix film for which Chadwick Boseman won the award. She also thanked the other nominees and others who had an important influence on the actor's life, like Denzel Washington. However, she closed out her acceptance by quoting her husband, and in doing so calling on others to do their part for equality. She said...
If you see the world unbalanced, be a crusader that pushes heavily on the seesaw of the mind. That’s a quote by Chadwick Boseman. Thank you Screen Actors, thank you Chad. Thank you.
Balance has been something that many have called for, and in Hollywood as much as anywhere. The problem of award nominees being overwhelmingly white hasn't gone unnoticed and there have been significant calls to do something about it. While one year is certainly not proof that the problem is over, the nominees in the Screen Actors' Guild category that was won by Chadwick Boseman is certainly a step in the right direction. In addition to Boseman, the category included the likes of Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun as nominees alongside him.
Chadwick Boseman's win last night likely makes him an unofficial front runner at this year's Academy Awards. In addition to winning the SAG Award he also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor. And the Oscars for acting are all voted on by other actors, just like the SAG awards, and so frequently the same person wins both awards. The same list of five people that just competed for the SAG award are also competing for the Oscar.
The Oscar could be a big night for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom overall as Viola Davis also won the SAG Award for outstanding female performance. In addition, the award for best cast performance went to Trial of the Chicago 7, which could mean that Netflix is getting ready for a really big night at the Oscars.
If Chadwick Boseman does win the Oscar you can be sure it will be an emotional night for those that knew and loved the actor. We'll find out when the awards are presented on Sunday April 25.