Every awards season, there's at one category where an actor or actress becomes the overall favorite to win an Oscar. This year, the late actor Chadwick Boseman has become the season’s award darling. Unfortunately, the Black Panther star is no longer here physically to reap all the fruits of his labor, but the signs point to Boseman nabbing the Best Actor honor for his recent Netflix film.
Chadwick Boseman’s award season sweep is something moviegoers haven’t seen from a Black actor since Forest Whitaker’s performance in 2005’s Last King of Scotland. The late actor received critical acclaim as well as praise from other actors and the public for his performance as Levee in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In the stage play-turned-drama film, Boseman embodied every emotion and mannerism of the troubled and free-spirited young trumpet player.
And for that amazing performance, Chadwick Boseman is up for Best Lead Actor at this year’s Oscars. But before the final winner is announced, here are some of the trophies the late Black Panther star picked up this awards season.
Things kicked with Chadwick Boseman winning Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. That win was followed by the late actor’s Best Actor win at the Critic’s Choice Award. After that victory, Boseman picked up his second-ever NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor along with Outstanding Ensemble for Ma Rainey and Outstanding Supporting Actor for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. He followed up those wins by taking home his second Outstanding Actor trophy from the Black Reel Awards.
Next Chadwick Boseman made history as he and co-star Viola Davis won Best Lead Actor and Actress, respectively, at the SAG Awards. That marked the first time a Black actor and actress had won those awards in the same year. He even won some critics’ awards for the Netflix film, including Black Film Critics Circle and Boston Film Critics.
While Chadwick Boseman has been an awards season darling, he received numerous nominations. He was nominated for Best Lead Actor at this year’s Satellite Awards and Independent Spirit Awards. The late actor even received international recognition by scoring Best International Actor and Best Leading Actor nominations from AACTA Awards and the BAFTAs, respectively.
While some will say Chadwick Boseman’s passing pushed him ahead of others, that is far from the truth. If you watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, he was able to go toe-to-toe with an acting titan like Oscar winner Viola Davis. Now, that says something. Some of the best scenes were the ones between the no-nonsense Ma Rainey and the overly ambitious Levee. Those moments were intense, to say the least.
If Chadwick Boseman were to win the Oscar, it would be a historic moment. The late actor would be only the third actor to win an Oscar posthumously following in the footsteps of Peter Finch for Network in 1977 and Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight in 2008. He would be the first Black actor to receive a posthumous Oscar for Best Lead Actor, only the second one to win posthumously after Finch. The actor already made history as the first Black performer and seventh person to receive a posthumous Oscar nomination. So, his win would just be the cherry on top.
Hopefully, Chadwick Boseman gets the flowers he deserves on Oscar night. At the same time, it can down in history as his last gift to the culture.