Chadwick Boseman blessed us with many amazing roles before he left us one year ago today.
It has been one year since we tragically lost Chadwick Boseman at only 43 years old. Boseman died on August 28, 2020 after a private battle with colon cancer. Though he left us young, Boseman graced us with many iconic roles. Here are the five best film performances from Chadwick Boseman’s career.
5. Thurgood Marshall in Marshall (2017)
Portraying former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Boseman carries Marshall as it’s leading man. The historical drama looks at the case of Joseph Spell, on trial for the rape and attempted murder of Eleanor Strubing. Boseman captures Marshall’s spirit well in the film as he must guide another lawyer (Josh Gad) as the defense once he is not allowed to speak in court. His ability to quick switch from needed comedic moments to the necessary monologues showed impressive range. Boseman’s scenes with Sterling K. Brown (in an underrated performance) are standouts.
4. Norman in Da 5 Bloods (2020)
Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods came out just two months before Boseman’s untimely passing. Boseman’s role was that of Norman, the leader of the Bloods group. Fighting in Vietnam, Norman and the Bloods had found gold. The group planned to bring the gold back, but Norman was killed and the gold was lost.
Even in a supporting role, Boseman helps carry the plot of the film. Without spoiling it, his history with Delroy Lindo’s Paul forms a large portion of the plot. His role was applauded by critics, garnering his Supporting Actor nods at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Critic’s Choice Awards.
3. Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013)
One of Boseman’s greatest talents was bringing to the screen the stories of Black legends. We mentioned Thurgood Marshall earlier in Marshall. He’s played the Godfather of Soul, James Brown as well in Get On Up. His breakthrough role was playing the legendary Jackie Robinson in 42.
A relatively unknown actor at the time, critics loved his performance as the baseball legend. Even if the movie wasn’t as bold as it could’ve been, Boseman was not at fault. He showed commitment to the craft, taking time to learn Robinson’s mannerisms and play style. When the widow of Jackie Robinson, Rachel Robinson, says that your performance was like seeing her husband again you must be doing something right.
2. Levee in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020)
In his final film role, Boseman played Levee Green. He played the brash trumpet player of Ma Rainey’s (Viola Davis) band who had dreams of being a big-time player and composer. The role brought out the great range in Boseman. He perfectly captured the excitement and optimism of the young musician and showcased the fragility of a young man’s ego. When he’s on the screen, you simply are drawn to Boseman. The role netted Boseman a posthumous Best Actor nomination at the Oscars, and a posthumous win of Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes.
1. T’Challa/Black Panther in Black Panther (2018)
Boseman’s greatest performance comes as King T’Challa, the Black Panther. From his scene-stealing debut in Captain America: Civil War to his roles in Infinity War and Endgame, T’Challa grew as a symbol and a legend because of Boseman’s work. It was his turn in his solo movie, Black Panther, that was his finest work.
Boseman portrayed a conflicted king, struggling with decisions on what is best for Wakanda and his own ascension to the throne. He was a leader, a badass, but also shined with comedic moments alongside Shiru (Letitia Wright). The role of T’Challa should never be filled in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Boseman did it perfectly the first time.