People Are Not Happy About the Chadwick Boseman NFT Released Amid 2021 Oscars

The broadcast itself was criticized for restructuring the announcements so that Best Actor was last. But on Monday, the focus turned to an unaffiliated NFT.


Image via Getty/Steve Granitz/WireImage


UPDATED 4/27, 7:30 a.m. ET: Artist Andre Oshea has issued a statement in response to the controversy surrounding the Chadwick Boseman 3D NFT. According to the latest comments received by Complex via email, the piece will be redesigned and auctioned off from Friday.

“I want to address the comments, press and the misinformation around the unveiling of my tribute NFT artwork of Chadwick Boseman this past weekend,” Oshea wrote. “I want you all to know that I’ve listened, heard and taken it all in as an artist and I apologize for any upset caused. I was one of several artists asked by Nomine(ETH) to produce an NFT artwork to celebrate the Oscar nominees with a 50/50 split between a charity and the artists. My specific task was to produce an artwork in the memory of late Chadwick Boseman which was NOT included in the gift bags given to the winners but was set to be auctioned off as a single 1/1 NFT.”

The creator continued: “For this project, I created a 3D animation inspired by one of my favorite films – Black Panther. As an artist whose work focuses on afrofuturism and new worlds, I felt like there was a natural synergy there. I wanted to create a digital monument that embodied Chadwick’s influence as a hero to all the Black kids everywhere while raising awareness about colon cancer and its impact on Black communities. I also loved that the funds going to The Colon Cancer Foundation would fund 10,000 colorectal cancer screenings to underserved communities in 2021. Young Black men are 30 percent more likely to be infected by colon cancer and this was a big opportunity to draw attention to this fact. I now recognize that Chadwick’s face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life, and I will be redesigning the artwork to be auctioned off later this week. I appreciate all of the love and support from both community and strangers and I’m motivated to push forward with this piece. I will still be donating 50% of the funds to the Colon Cancer Foundation to fund their invaluable work with cancer research and testing.”

Oshea also shared the statement on Instagram, noting in the caption, “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. The process of sharing an artwork so publicly has taught me a lot about how to deal with, and listen to criticism, and how to harness it in a positive way”:

See original story below.

Heading into the delayed 2021 edition of the Oscars, the Actor in a Leading Role category was near-unanimously regarded as a total lock for the late Chadwick Boseman, who was nominated for his work in George C. Wolfe’s take on the classic August Wilson play Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

In the film, also starring Viola Davis and Glynn Turman, Boseman played trumpeter Levee Green. Boseman’s performance had already been met with typically foreshadowing honors including the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards honor of Best Actor, the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama), and SAG’s Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

However, Sunday night—despite predictions that posited Boseman’s win as practically guaranteed—resulted in an upset victory for Anthony Hopkins. In The Father, a deeply moving drama of the unreliable narrator variety focusing on the cyclical anguish of dementia, Hopkins plays an elderly man named Anthony whose recent interactions with a caretaker set the stage for a nonlinear exploration of aging.

Hopkins wasn’t in attendance for Sunday night’s ceremony, instead sharing a special video message to Instagram early Monday in which he paid tribute to Boseman.

“I’m very grateful to the Academy and thank you and I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early,” Hopkins, who previously won an Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs, said.

And per TMZ, Chadwick’s brother Derrick Boseman said the family doesn’t feel like Hopkins’ victory represented a snub.

But the structuring of Sunday night’s ceremony had arguably reinforced many viewers’ expectation that Boseman, who was also prominently featured in the In Memoriam segment, would be posthumously awarded Best Actor. Most notable here, of course, is the organizers’ decision to break from tradition by saving the announcement of the Best Actor category for the end of the broadcast. 

And while that aspect of the show could be chalked up to organizers merely also betting that Boseman was the likely winner, a separate issue—one rooted in the increasingly exhausting world of NFTs—is now receiving renewed attention.

Prior to this year’s Oscars, multiple outlets (including Complex) received a press release announcing a “special edition NFT artwork” of Boseman that would be auctioned off “in support of the Colon Cancer Foundation.” According to the press release, Atlanta-based NFT 3D artist Andre Oshea created the artwork, which was said to be part of the Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bag experience. 

The work is being auctioned on the Rarible platform through April 28.

“This rare special edition NFT is the very first offered as a tribute to the prolific actor, a unique piece of art which is limited to just 1 edition and will never be minted again,” Isaac Rudansky—founder of AdVenture Media, a partner in the NFT auction —said in the press release. “This NFT commemorates Chadwick’s incredible legacy while supporting the nationwide initiative to bring 10,000 colorectal screenings to underserved communities in 2021 through CCF.” 

Important here is that, per the press release itself, the Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bags “are not affiliated in any way with the Oscars or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.” Furthermore, the AMPAS “does not award, sponsor, endorse, or provide these gift bags.” The press release also stated “proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Colon Cancer Foundation.” 

In a tweet, Oshea said on Twitter that 50 percent of all proceeds would be donated to the foundation. In a reply to one of Oshea’s tweets, a Twitter user shared a page for a 3D print model of Boseman, with another Twitter user brushing off this criticism:

Still, both the not-Oscars-affiliated NFT auction and the Best-Actor-announced-last structuring of the 2021 ceremony have been questioned. Below, see a sampling of how some viewers have responded.

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