I don’t usually write tribute posts when celebrities die, but the recent death of Chadwick Boseman hit me differently.
When I heard the news yesterday, I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. Many have said before that watching his movies, you never would’ve guessed that he had cancer because he exhibited such vitality as well as so much charisma and strength. He was diagnosed in 2016, the same year his iconic King T’Challa debuted on screen in “Captain America: Civil War.” Two years later, “Black Panther” would debut and would become a cultural phenomenon, and he would portray the iconic king and wielder of the Black Panther suit in two “Avengers” movies before he succumbed to cancer.
Boseman was a top-tier actor, having made several strong performance outside of his “Black Panther” role, including as Jackie Robinson in the biopic “42,” as Thurgood Marshall in the biopic “Marshall”, and the 2020 Spike Lee movie “Da 5 Bloods” as Norman Earl “Stormin’ Norm” Holloway.
While he lacked an academy award at the time of his death, had he survived, I think it would have been an inevitability that he would have earned one. Boseman, in his short career, displayed an ability to play a wide variety and range of characters. Though I have not seen his TV roles, I always deeply respected the level of commitment and humanity he brought to his on-screen characters. He was an actor that could do both comedic and serious roles, and one thing I loved about the serious roles he was known for is he always seemed to have fun with them.
Boseman’s death is a tragedy that hits so much differently than other celebrity deaths not only because his “Black Panther” character was and still is a cultural icon, but because he had so much more left to give. Unlike the likes of Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, and many other actors who had the benefit of being able to outlive their primes, Boseman died in the middle of his. We will never know what Boseman would have accomplished after his year, but given the quality of his most recent films, I think he would have proved himself as not only one of the best actors in the business right now, but of all time.
I think there is a good chance Boseman wins a posthumous Oscar, either for “Da 5 Bloods,” which is still my favorite film of the year, or “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” an upcoming Netflix film that has been billed as an Oscar contender.
I’m not going to run this post into speculation for what this means for “Black Panther 2”. Now is the time to mourn for Boseman.
Thank you, Chadwick, for everything that you’ve done for the industry and for the world. You leave behind a legacy that will last forever.
Rest In Power, King.