Chadwick Boseman makes Oscars history

If Boseman were to win the award, he would be only the third actor to win posthumously

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The late Chadwick Boseman has made Oscars history as the first African American to be posthumously nominated for an Academy Award. 

Boseman was nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Levee Green in the 2020 film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. 

Read More: Black talent dominates Oscars nominations + full list

The film, which is based on the play by the same name by August Wilson, debuted in December on Netflix and also starred Viola Davis, who earned her fourth Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the title character, Ma Rainey. 

Davis is now the most Oscar-nominated Black actress in history.

Chadwick Boseman (left) and co-star Viola Davis are both nominated for Golden Globe Awards, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in motion-picture acting categories for their stellar roles in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” (Netflix)

theGrio reported that Boseman won his first Golden Globe award posthumously in February for Best Actor. His wife, Taylor Simone Ledward Boseman, tearfully accepted the award on his behalf. 

“He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and for their sacrifices. He would thank his incredible team,” Ledward Boseman said.

“He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can; that tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.”

Earlier in March, Boseman also won Best Actor in a Drama at the 26th annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Accepted by Ledward Boseman, she shared her spouse’s love of masterful storytelling, of the resonant works he found such joy in helping bring to life.

Chadwick Boseman
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Read More: Chadwick Boseman takes a final, flawless bow in ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

“He may say something about the importance of this story. About the importance of Black voices telling Black stories,” said Ledward Boseman. “He may take this moment to give honor to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time. And, as I recently read, societies grow great when all men plant trees in their shade.

They know they may never sit, and our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests. And one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens.”

Boseman, who was best known for his portrayal of King T’Challa in 2018’s blockbuster Marvel hit, Black Panther died from colon cancer last summer at the age of 43. The official tweet announcing his death remains the most-liked tweet in Twitter history. 

Only one actor, Peter Finch, has won the Best Actor trophy posthumously. Finch won for his portrayal of unhinged news anchor Howard Beale in the 1976 film, Network

Heath Ledger won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight in 2009.

If Boseman were to win the award, he would be only the third actor to win posthumously. 

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