The success of Netflix's biographical drama Ma Rainey's Black Bottom led to the film being nominated for numerous prestigious awards, many of them earned by leading man Chadwick Boseman. Tonight, the late actor was awarded his very first Golden Globe, and his wife Taylor Simone Ledward accepted the honor with another heartfelt, emotional speech.
Boseman famously starred in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, alongside Viola Davis, as the fictional Levee, a talented and ambitious trumpeter who clashed with the iconic blues singer as a member of her band. It was Boseman's very last role, released to the public months after he tragically passed from an extended private battle with colon cancer. Since the release of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the film has been critically acclaimed, with audiences and critics alike praising the George C. Wolfe-directed project for its rich depiction of Ma Rainey's journey to the top of her game. Boseman's performance was especially stirring, and on Globes night, he was honored with another major posthumous award: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture. As a result, his widow paid tribute to him with a moving acceptance speech on his behalf.
"[Chadwick] would thank God," Ledward said tearfully, her words moving Boseman's co-star Davis to tears as well. "He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices."
"He would say something beautiful," she continued. "Something inspiring. Something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of that tells you you can, that tells you to keep going... and I don’t have his words. But we have to take a moment to celebrate the ones we love. So thank you, HFPA."
Ledward's bittersweet Golden Globes moment took place hours after a joyous tribute to the fallen star. In a skit featuring TikToker Laron Hines and his pre-school students, the kids were asked basic Hollywood trivia and got almost all of the answers wrong. However, when asked about the identity of Boseman, every kid was able to answer without missing a beat: "He's the Black Panther!"
This isn't the first time that Ledward has accepted an award on her late husband's behalf, and it mostly likely will not be the last. In early January, she spoke at the 2021 Gotham Awards, where Boseman won the important Actor Tribute Award. Now, with Oscar season less than two months away, it would not be a reach to assume that Boseman and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom will be on the shortlist. Boseman won many awards throughout his acting career, but a win in April would mark his very first Oscar — a perfect and poignant way to celebrate his rich talents and the undeniable impact that he left on the film industry and the world.