Here's why The Academy shifting Best Actor reveal to Oscars 2021 end was insensitive towards Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman fans had tuned in to watch Oscars 2021 with eagerness to witness the late actor possibly winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his knockout performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. However, The Academy had other plans.
Anthony Hopkins instead won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for The Father. Here's why The Academy shifting Best Actor reveal to Oscars 2021 end was insensitive towards Chadwick Boseman
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Oscars 2021 broke the Academy Award's longstanding tradition, which was to have the prestigious Best Picture Oscar given at the very end. This time, it was the Academy Award for Best Actress and Actor in a Leading Role, who were given the 'final awards' spotlight. For Chadwick Boseman fans and this writer included, this surprising decision by The Academy was like a confirmation that the late actor, who sadly passed away last year in August, was definitely winning his first and last posthumous Oscar.

For the unversed, Chadwick was nominated for his knockout performance as the overconfident trumpeter Levee Green in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom along with Steven Yeun for Minari, Riz Ahmed for Sound of Metal, Anthony Hopkins for The Father and Gary Oldman for Mank also in contention. However, to many a dismay, it was Anthony, who made history as the oldest actor (83) to take home the Best Actor Oscar for his superior showing as Anthony, an ageing man suffering from progressing memory loss. Before I get down to The Academy's insensitivity in handling the Best Actor reveal, I'd like to point out that absolutely no one is blaming Hopkins. In fact, when Pinkvilla ran a poll for readers to choose who they'd like to see win Best Actor, The Silence of the Lambs star was toe-to-toe with the Black Panther star and deservedly so.

Anthony, who was asleep and had no idea when the Best Actor Oscar was announced, even paid tribute to the late, extremely talented star in his acceptance speech, which the legendary actor shared on Instagram as a video. While revealing how he didn't expect to win but was "privileged and honoured" to receive the honour, Hopkins also acknowledged, "I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us, far too early."

Moreover, Chadwick's brother Derrick Boseman stated to TMZ that the family doesn't consider the late star not winning the Best Actor Oscar as a snub and were neither upset nor agitated that Chadwick's name wasn't called at the end of Oscars 2021 because every nominated actor was excellent and deserving of the award. Derrick added that his brother didn't put too much value to the Oscars, describing it to him as "a campaign." While an Oscar would have been definitely an achievement for Chadwick, Derrick stated that it was never an obsession.

Now, let's move on to my and probably many others' bone of contention; why did The Academy decide to move the Best Actor Oscar reveal to the very end, thus breaking tradition? There were obviously many eyes anxiously waiting to see if like the late Heath Ledger, who posthumously was bestowed with the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar for his knockout performance as Joker in The Dark Knight, Chadwick too would find a place in Oscars' history books and win his first-ever Academy Award, adding more gravitas to his short yet illustrious career. The Academy was well aware that 'Who will Best Actor?' is what will trend all across the globe and hence, it was a smart business decision to keep them guessing till the end.

A similar instance took place recently at Grammys 2021 when the beloved South Korean boy group BTS' performance was kept until the very end, making the septet's loyal fandom ARMY as well as the members themselves impatiently wait for the Dynamite act to be aired as teases of "they're next, they're next" kept them on a constant loop of the 'wait' game. What was worse was that the Best Pop/Duo Group Performance category, which BTS received their first-ever Grammy nomination for, was announced during the pre-show, which they didn't win, losing to Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande's Rain On Me.

Referring to this phenomenon as 'clout,' it seems as though The Academy used Chadwick as a mere trending topic to keep fans hooked to the show until the very end, only to spoil the broth and leave everyone enraged. While the 93rd Academy Awards did trend well after the show aired with more than a million tweets, it was because fans expressed their sheer anger at not just Boseman not winning but to keep them waiting until the dead end. For many, it wasn't the fact that Chadwick didn't win as Anthony gave an outstanding performance too, as did the other nominees. It was The Academy being insensitive and using Boseman's legacy and death as clout.

Unfortunately, for The Academy, the risky gamble didn't pay off! According to Nielsen Live+Same Day preliminary national numbers, via Variety, 9.85 million viewers tuned in to watch Oscars 2021, which is a steep 58.3% drop, i.e. 13.75 million viewers, from Oscars 2020. The 93rd Academy Awards scored a rating of 1.9 among adults 18-49 in the fast national ratings, which is also a deep 64.2% dip in comparison to the 92nd Academy Awards. While The Academy may have earned brownie points for its overdue diversity in nominations, they somehow failed Chadwick Boseman and that's a major letdown. The fact that mere seconds were allotted to Chadwick and the other celebrities, who sadly passed away in 2020 and 2021 (celebrities like Naya Rivera and Jessica Walter were also left out), in the In Memoriam segment is a story in itself for another day.

ALSO READ: Oscars 2021: Anthony Hopkins remembers Chadwick Boseman post Best Actor win: He was taken from us too early

Do you agree that The Academy shifting the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar as the last award at Oscars 2021 was an insensitive move towards Chadwick Boseman? Share your honest thoughts with Pinkvilla in the comments section below.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Stop hate mongering PV ! Awards are based on acting capabilities and not sensitivity. I have seen both movies and while I love Chadwick, Sir Hopkins won hands down. He is a brilliant actor and you idiots are undermining his capabilities with some sensitivity nonsense. Oh also Chadwick was a wonderful human being and he wouldn't approve of all this hate towards a very well respected co-star like Sir Anthony Hopkins.

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