The 2021 Oscars will go down as one of the most controversial in terms of the performances from Black actors that were overlooked. While Daniel Kaluuya took home the hardware for Best Supporting Actor for playing Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah, the other snubs were major. Both Andra Day (who just won the Golden Globe for Best Actress) for playing Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday and Viola Davis for playing Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
But the biggest snub of the evening was for Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (The Academy Award went to Anthony Hopkins for his role in The Father.)
The backlash was swift from Black Twitter and many others who believed that Boseman was almost sure to win for Best Actor after winning the NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe. In fact, the entire show seemed to be built around an expected Boseman win, but the ending couldn’t have been more surprising.
Since 1940, without exception, the Oscars have presented the Best Picture category as the final award, with it widely being regarded as the most prestigious award of the night. So when it became known that the Best Actor award would be the last award, an overwhelming majority anticipated that Boseman was a lock for the win.
When the winner Hopkins was announced, he wasn’t present physically or virtually, leaving Joaquin Phoenix to accept on his behalf, making it even more awkward and confusing.
Not only did the Oscars miss an opportunity to honor Boseman posthumously for his remarkable performance, but there was a build-up around his possible win. They even had a Chadwick Boseman NFT in the Oscars’ “swag bag.”
To get a glimpse of some of the shade that the Oscars received for snubbing Boseman, check out these Twitter reactions below:
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur, 2018