The 93rd annual Academy Awards were held on April 25 in Los Angeles, California but fans were left disappointed when the late actor and playwright Chadwick Boseman was not awarded the Best Actor Oscar for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
The unanticipated loss left many angry as Boseman, who has won a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for his performance, lost to Anthony Hopkins in the category but what added more fuel to fans’ anger was how the Academy chose to honour the late actor.
On Saturday, it was revealed that all nominees would be given a non-fungible token (NFT) of Boseman’s face in a bright golden CGI which would be put for auction for charity. The 3D tribute was included in a gift bag for all nominees attending the ceremony on Sunday.
Its creator, Andre O’Shea shared the news on Twitter to reveal his artwork but the move received a huge backlash. While sharing a small clip of the animation, he wrote, “The way to immortalise an artist is to honour them with art”and added that “bringing this piece to life has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences as an artist for him.”
The way to immortalize an artist, is to honor them with art.
I was tasked to create a tribute NFT for Chadwick Boseman for the Oscars! Bringing this piece to life has been one of my most challenging & rewarding experiences as an artist.
— ●●● (@andreoshea) April 24, 2021
The post further stated that NFT will be auctioned on Rarible, whose half of the proceeds will be donated to the Colon Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organisation based in New York. Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020 and being diagnosed in 2016, he continued his acting career while supporting cancer charities.
Social media users slammed the move by calling it ‘disgusting’, ‘disrespectful’ and a way to ‘profit off’ Boseman’s death. Twitter was flooded with outraged fans speaking their mind over the commodification of the actor’s demise.
"Chadwick Boseman gets NFT tribute in Oscars nominee bags; half of proceeds go to charity"
I don't even know how to properly articulate how fucking disgusting this is.
— 少年アムロ (@ZFighterAmuro) April 25, 2021
Many called out the artists and the Academy and asked if they could be sued for the controversial move.
The Chadwick Boseman nft thing is so effing disrespectful can his estate sue that guy and the academy???
— fatima (@brendabentleys) April 25, 2021
I don't know anything about who or what happened at the Oscars other than they tried to profit off Chadwick Boseman with that shifty ass NFT bullshit & they should apologize for it.
— Jinath Hyder🇨🇦 (@JinathHyder) April 26, 2021
The Oscar's literally changed their entire lineup to prop up Chadwick Boseman, used him as a weird token NFT, and then gave Hopkins the award.
Its really fucking ghoulish they used a dead man to keep people watching and make money off of https://t.co/mdIwvlm7DS
— Actually_IT_IS_MONSTER_HUNTING_SEASON_Tina (@Actually_Tina) April 26, 2021
The outrage reached O’Shea who defended the artwork initially saying that he has never received ‘so much hate for his art.’
I’ve never received so much hate from my art. I’m actually surprised at the amount of artists dishing this much negativity
— ●●● (@andreoshea) April 25, 2021
This past week has been a huge learning experience for me, and I appreciate all of the feedback on my work, especially from my friends and family.
Here is a statement about this weekend’s events. Thank you to everyone who has shown me support, I am deeply grateful. pic.twitter.com/tvNHGdAMzE
— ●●● (@andreoshea) April 26, 2021
In his latest statement, however, O’Shea said that he would redesign the NFT before putting it up for auction and “apologised for any upset caused.”Further, he states that “Boseman’s face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life’ so he will be redesigning the piece.”