The late actor Chadwick Boseman won the 2021 Golden Globe for best performance by an actor in a drama for his work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Boseman’s widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award on her late husband’s behalf in a speech filled with emotion and gratitude during the virtual award show that aired on Feb. 28.
“He would thank God,” Ledward said tearfully in her live-streamed acceptance speech. “He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices.”
Boseman died on Aug. 28, 2020, at the age of 43 following a four-year battle with colon cancer. The “Black Panther” star’s death came as a shock to many, because Boseman managed to keep his diagnosis and treatment private, even as he continued working. Upon news of his death, celebrities and fans flooded social media with reactions and tributes to the actor’s work and generous heart.
Boseman’s Golden Globe win comes from his final on-screen performance, in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” He portrayed Levee, a trumpet player in a blues band featuring singer Ma Rainey. Sadly, he died before the film was released on Netflix on Nov. 25.
His performance took top honors over other nominees, including Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Gary Oldman (“Mank”) and Tahar Rahim (“The Mauritanian”).
If you haven’t seen the film yet, you can get a sneak peek of Boseman’s performance in the trailer for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
His best actor win marks the first time in 15 years that a Black man has taken home the award, according to the New York Times. His win also makes Boseman the first Black posthumous winner in an acting category.
Chadwick’s wife tried to carry on her husband’s legacy to inspire others to follow their dreams in her speech honoring Boseman’s victory.
“He would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside all of us that tells you can…that tells you to keep going that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history,” she said.
NBC posted her acceptance speech to YouTube:
Ledward concluded her remarks by reminding others to celebrate the people we love in our lives and thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organization behind the Golden Globe awards) for the chance to speak on behalf of her husband.
“I don’t have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love, so thank you HFPA for the opportunity to do just that,” Ledward said. “And, hun? You keep ’em coming.”
Nominations for the 2021 Oscar Awards are scheduled to be announced on March 15. Boseman is on a number of shortlists as a strong contender for an Academy Award nomination.