Chadwick Boseman: who was the late Black Panther actor tipped to win an Oscar - and what other movies was he in?

Actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from Colon cancer before the release of his final movie, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom  (Picture: Getty Images)Actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from Colon cancer before the release of his final movie, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom  (Picture: Getty Images)
Actor Chadwick Boseman passed away from Colon cancer before the release of his final movie, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Picture: Getty Images)
Boseman lost out on the Best Actor award at the 2021 Oscars for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom - with Anthony Hopkins taking the gong

Fans of Chadwick Boseman, who starred in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020), have hit out at the shock ending to the Oscars as the late actor was denied the Best Actor award.

Boseman passed away in August 2020, but has been celebrated at several award ceremonies since for his role as Levee in the award-winning film.

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So, who was Boseman, what awards has he won and how did he die?

Who was Chadwick Boseman?

Boseman was an American actor and playwright who became internationally recognised for playing superhero Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

He grew up in South Carolina and was a keen basketball player at T. L. Hanna High School.

Boseman went on to graduate from Howard University in Washington DC in 2000, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing. He also spent time at f the British American Drama Academy at Balliol College, Oxford.

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Upon graduating he moved to Harlem, New York, where he began his career in theatre and writing.

By 2002, he was a well-established theatrical actor and won an AUDELCO award for his part in Ron Milner's Urban Transitions.

As a member of the National Shakespeare Company of New York, he played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Malcolm in Macbeth.

His play, Deep Azure (2004), about police brutality, was commissioned and workshopped at the Apollo Theatre in New York. Delivered almost entirely in rhyme, it became his best known production work and was nominated for a 2006 Jeff Award for Best New Work.

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Boseman, who was Christian, began dating singer Taylor Simone Ledward in 2015, with the pair marrying in secret the year before his death.

What films did he star in?

Boseman’s screen breakthrough came in 2013, when he starred as baseball player Jackie Robinson in biographical film, 42, directed by Brian Helgeland.

In 2014, he diversified his acting to include singing and dancing for the role of Godfather of Soul, James Brown for Get On Up.

Critics were quick to sing his praises, with Time's Richard Corliss saying Boseman "deserves a Pulitzer, a Nobel and instant election to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."

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Following Boseman’s death in 2020, Donald Clarke of The Irish Times said that Get on Up tested every weapon in the actor's arsenal [and his] performance confirmed that, like a star from Hollywood's golden age, Chadwick Boseman could do it all and do it all with style."

In 2016, he began starring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films as Black Panther.

His first film was Captain America: Civil War, which introduced the character before his headline movie in 2018, Black Panther.

The film became one of the highest-grossing Marvel films, with Boseman’s role earning him a spot on the 2018 Time 100 as one of the world's most influential people.

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Black Panther was seen as hugely significant, as it was the first mega-budget movie to have a predominantly black cast and director, as well as the first superhero film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

In 2017, he also took on the role of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, in Marshall. The film tells the story of the first ever African-American Supreme Court judge and one of his early trials. It premiered at Howard University, which both Boseman and Marshall had attended.

He returned as the superhero for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

In his final roles before his untimely death, he starred in Netflix films Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee, and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, directed by George C. Wolfe and produced by Denzel Washington.

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Da 5 Bloods was released in June 2020, with a largely positive reception. In August 2020, Boseman passed away in Los Angeles, California.

Following his death, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom was released and he went on to be nominated posthumously for several awards.

Boseman has since won Best Actor at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, Golden Globes and AACTA awards. He also won Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the Screen Actors Guilds Awards.

In 2021, Boseman was tipped to receive Best Actor at the Oscars 2021 for his role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, but the award instead went to Anthony Hopkins for his performance in The Father.

How did Boseman die?

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On 28 August 2020, Boseman died of Colon cancer with his wife and family by his side. He had never spoken publicly about his diagnosis.

It was widely reported that only a few non-family members knew of his diagnosis, with even fewer knowing the extent of his illness.

It has been reported that Boseman is buried at Welfare Baptist Church cemetery in South Carolina, but this has never been confirmed.

Where can I watch Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods?

Subscribers to Netflix can watch both films as part of their subscription.

You can subscribe on the Netflix UK website, a standard subscription is £9.99 per month.

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