The late Chadwick Boseman was perceived as a heavy favorite to win best actor at the Oscars for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. In the final moments of the 93rd Academy Awards, however, Boseman’s loss to Anthony Hopkins, for his role in The Father, spurred backlash on social media.
Boseman, who died last August after being diagnosed with colon cancer four years prior, is the first Black actor to be posthumously nominated for an Academy Award. A posthumous best actor win would have marked the third time in history for an actor to do so — following Peter Finch for his performance in 1976′s Network and Heath Ledger for 2008′s The Dark Knight. It would also have been Boseman’s first and only Academy Award.
Following Joaquin Phoenix announcing that Hopkins had won in the category for his role in The Father, the actor and presenter noted that Hopkins was not in attendance and the Academy would accept the award on his behalf. What followed on social media was a mix of disbelief and disappointment over Boseman not winning for his final awards season nomination.
MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid tweeted, “Wait what was that Game of Thrones style ending?? Andra Day and Chadwick Boseman were robbed.”
Director Matthew Cherry simply wrote “Chadwick truly deserved.”
Jemele Hill called out the snub, saying “We should have known some fuck shit was about to happen when Joaquin Phoenix said he wasn’t going to say what he originally planned.”
LaToya Morgan, a writer for Parenthood and Shameless, also tweeted, “For those keeping score, people aren’t mad that Chadwick lost. It’s the way it played out. The build up… the let down. Chaos achievement: unlocked.”
The Black List founder Franklin Leonard shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing Boseman would not have been upset over the loss. “Honestly not even stressed about Chadwick not winning, because I know Chadwick wouldn’t have been stressed about not winning. He would, however, want us to go back to work tomorrow aiming unconscionably high in both art and humanity. So that’s what Imma try to do.”
Leonard also tweeted, “You want to honor Chadwick’s memory? Make brilliant work. Make it easier for the folks coming behind you to make brilliant work.”