With the late Chadwick Boseman’s loss in the category of Best Actor, the 93rd Academy Awards subsequently got fans talking on Twitter, many of whom were displeased with the result. It’s a reaction that was not surprising, though it does raise the question of how Boseman himself would have felt about the whole scenario. Which is why friend of Chadwick Boseman and film producer Franklin Leonard spoke up on social media, and shared how he felt the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star would have felt after losing the coveted statue.
Known best as the creator of The Black List, a platform that helps shine a light on the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood, Leonard took to Twitter himself to discuss how his friend would have taken the evening’s events. While he wasn’t a producer on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Franklin Leonard did know Chadwick Boseman enough to speak towards what he feels the actor's sentiments would have been on said night. Through the follwing message thread, Leonard explained how Boseman himself might have responded, were he still with us today:
Franklin Leonard also took that hypothetical response as a call to proceed with that same sort of work ethic on his own end. Not to mention, Mr. Leonard’s guess is pretty much on par with what Chadwick Boseman’s brother, Derek, put out into the world earlier. Valuing the work over the awards, the actor would have taken the loss in stride, and likely congratulated his competition, before getting back to business. A second tweet directly addressed how people can honor Boseman even after the loss.
You want to honor Chadwick’s memory? Make brilliant work. Make it easier for the folks coming behind you to make brilliant work.
It’s that key difference of his focusing on the work that made the late star of Black Panther and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom one of the most respected players in the acting world; it’s also one of the traits best remembered after his untimely passing in 2020. Ever humble, and always working to make the most of what little time he had in a role, Chadwick Boseman was an actor’s actor. Even Anthony Hopkins himself recognized that, when he paid tribute to Mr. Boseman in his acceptance speech the morning after.
Fans can easily get heated up over what they feel is a snub, especially when it’s a slight seemingly perpetrated against someone as beloved as Chadwick Boseman. At times like these, it’s important to remember how the person themselves would have felt, and to not get too wound up over the end result that’s happened. Based on what Franklin Leonard and Derek Boseman have said, it’s just not what Chadwick would have wanted.
You can catch both of Chadwick Boseman’s powerful final performances on Netflix. The platform not only has Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom available, but also is the home to Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods. Both are fitting tributes to the work that Boseman left behind, and are portraits of his true and enduring spirit in the world of cinema.