At the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, March 7, the late Chadwick Boseman won Best Lead Actor for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, which is currently streaming on Netflix. His widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, accepted the award on his behalf.
“Wow. It has to be said aloud that for those of us who know Chad intimately, personally, professionally, those he taught, those he gave a word of advice, those who taught him—it is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments,” she said during the virtual ceremony, per People. “As proud as we are of him, yes for his work, but even more just for who he is as a person.”
She went on to praise her late husband’s talent and humility, saying, “But his work deserves this. His work in this film deserves this. He deserves this, and so he would always thank God first and foremost in everything. He would always honor his mother and his father. He would always acknowledge those who came before him, those who charted the path, those who gave him their gifts.”
Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from cancer last August at 43 years old, is a frontrunner for the Oscars, having recently been honored at both the Gotham Awards and Golden Globes. At each occasion, Ledward Boseman has spoken powerfully and eloquently about his life and legacy. This time at the CCAs was no different. She concluded in her remarks, “He may say something about the importance of this story. About the importance of Black voices telling Black stories. He may take this moment to give honor to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time. And, as I recently read, societies grow great when all men plant trees in their shade. They know they may never sit, and our society may be a far cry from great, but I know that the seeds you planted will grow into forests. And one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens. Thank you, Critics’ Choice, and thank you, Chad.”