The 2021 Academy Awards paid tribute to beloved entertainment icons who passed away over the last year during the show's ceremony on Sunday night in an In Memoriam segment.
Among those honored was Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who was posthumously nominated in the Best Actor category at this year's award’s show, for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman died in August following a battle with colon cancer. He was 43.
Boseman, who portrayed trumpeter Levee Green in Netflix's film lost to Anthony Hopkins in the biggest upset of the night. The actor received previous awards for the Golden Globe, Critics Choice, and Screen Actors Guild, among others, for the dramatic film about real-life singer Ma Rainey.
Boseman, who was highly favored to be honored with the prize, was immortalized in a new piece of digital artwork, that was part of the highly coveted gift bags Oscar nominees received on Sunday, April 25.
Each nominee's gift bag contained an NFT, or non-fungible token, that authenticates a 3D digital tribute to the late actor created by artist Andre Oshea.
“The way to immortalize an artist, is to honor them with art,” wrote Oshea on Twitter earlier this week.
“I was tasked to create a tribute NFT for Chadwick Boseman for the Oscars! Bringing this piece to life has been one of my most challenging & rewarding experiences as an artist.”
The way to immortalize an artist, is to honor them with art.
I was tasked to create a tribute NFT for Chadwick Boseman for the Oscars! Bringing this piece to life has been one of my most challenging & rewarding experiences as an artist.
Bidding on @rariblecom begins tomorrow pic.twitter.com/EYCJYWbtIZ— ●●● (@andreoshea) April 24, 2021
The NFT itself will be auctioned with proceeds going to The Colon Cancer Foundation, which fights against the same disease that took Bosemana’s life. The artist will also be donating 50 percent of the proceeds to the Colon Cancer Foundation.
As reported by Entertainment Weekly, the striking artwork is the first foray into the world of NFTs for “Hollywood’s Biggest Night.”
Film fans expecting Boseman to posthumously win took to Twitter to air their sentiments that the late actor was "snubbed" while others claimed that the Academy capitalized on Boseman's death yet failed to honor him.
Some fans were quick to point out that while Hopkins had a stellar performance, rearranging the categories to make Best Actor the final award of the night, despite that honor usually going to Best Picture, was confusing if it wasn't going to be a tribue to the Black Panther star.
"The #Oscars shifting Best Picture ahead of Best Actor just to snub Chadwick Boseman is why I’m losing faith in award shows," reads a tweet from @JulianDelGaudio.
The #Oscars shifting Best Picture ahead of Best Actor just to snub Chadwick Boseman is why I’m losing faith in award shows— Julian Del Gaudio (@JulianDelGaudio) April 26, 2021
The Oscars were so sure that Chadwick Boseman was going to win that they REARRANGED THE ENTIRE CEREMONY so his category could be last, and then they gave the award to Anthony Hopkins instead...the most chaotic and unhinged thing I've ever seen.— Spencer Althouse (@SpencerAlthouse) April 26, 2021
i mean if we’re being honest, awards literally don’t mean anything and art is dead. HOWEVER it’s obvious that the academy capitalized on Chadwick’s death and used it for views. so to then snub him of the oscar win when it’s literally the LEAST you could do to honor him? shameful— sav ? (@jedileiasolo) April 26, 2021
Actress Angela Bassett introduced this year's powerful In Memoriam segment, which featured Boseman as the last actor highlighted, with a somber reflection on the challenging year.
"As of April 25, 2021, there were recorded over 3 million souls lost around the world to COVID alone," she shared. "Considering the enormity of our collective loss and the often incomprehensible times we're living through, we wish to also acknowledge those precious lives lost to the violence of inequality, injustice, hatred, racism, and poverty. To all of those who left our lives too soon, we cherish the moments that we had the honor of having with you."
"Tonight, we want to celebrate the artists who gave us permission to dream, the technical pioneers and innovators who expanded our experience of movie love," she continued. "Let us as one community say thank you, you will remain, as we remember you in our hearts, always."
Other Oscar-winning performers who were honored in the “In Memoriam” video included Sean Connery—who died in October at age 90—and Christopher Plummer, who died in February due to complications from a fall. He was 91.
(Images via Oscars & Andre Oshea)