On Sunday night, Boseman, who died last August following a four-year battle with colon cancer, took the win for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his moving work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
His wife, Simone Ledward Boseman, tearfully accepted the award on his behalf, saying, “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices.”
She later added, “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.”
With the win, Boseman becomes the second posthumous winner for lead actor since Peter Finch, who also received the honor for his work in 1976′s “Network.”
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” based on August Wilson’s 1980s play , tells the story of blues singer Ma Rainey and the economic exploitation of Black performers in 1920s Chicago. Boseman’s heartbreaking performance as Levee, a talented and ambitious musician, has been praised as a “career-best.”
Talking to The New York Times, Boseman’s co-star and fellow Globe nominee Viola Davis said, “There was a transcendence about Chad’s performance.”
“This is a man who’s raging at God, who’s lost even his faith. So [Boseman has] got to sort of go to the edge of hope and death and life in order to make that character work. Of course, you look back on it and see that that’s where he was,” she said.
Beyond acknowledging his work in the Netflix film, the win also serves as a nod to an already-legendary career tragically cut short. Boseman wasn’t afraid to play icons such as Jackie Robinson and James Brown or become an icon himself, receiving worldwide recognition as Marvel’s Black Panther.
Reflecting on his performances, Boseman once told The Undefeated, “The worst thing is for opportunity to come and you’re not ready for it. I think for me, it’s just trying to be ready for whatever comes. That’s how I’m here.”
The win was Boseman’s first Golden Globe and his final film performance.