Image via Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
The contents of the Academy Award gift bags are often a source of curiosity, but this year, all eyes were on the Chadwick Boseman-inspired non-fungible token (NFT) handed out in the goodie bags for Oscar nominees.
Black 3D artist Andre Oshea was commissioned to design the digital artwork in remembrance of the late actor. While Oscar nominees each received a copy of the NFT, one version would be auctioned off for an approximate US$1.2 million. 50 percent of the sum would be dedicated to further research for colon cancer, which Boseman died from after a secret four-year battle with the cancer. In addition, it would help fund 10,000 colorectal cancer screenings for the less fortunate.
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
In the first place, the predominance of NFTs might drive internet users to presume that some have been attempting to capitalize on the trend.
However, when Boseman lost to Anthony Hopkins in the Best Actor category for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, audiences began to think that the digital tribute and gift to fellow nominees had been in even poorer taste. It didn’t help that the announcement for Best Actor had been moved to the end, seemingly to honor Boseman.
“Putting a Chadwick Boseman NFT in the gift bag, as well as restructuring the traditional order of the ceremony so to end on Best Actor, seemingly to have a moment for Chadwick, all reeks of the Academy trying to capitalize on a tragedy in order to get ratings,” wrote Twitter user Harriet King.
One point of contention was that the artist had used a royalty-free 3D model of Boseman’s head to create the NFT instead of designing the portrait from scratch. However, per the terms and conditions of 3D model marketplace CGTrader, where the image can be purchased for US$50, buyers of its collection are allowed to distribute the art as an “incorporated product.”
Oshea has since responded to some of the dismay, penning in a lengthy letter: “ 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.”
Nevertheless, as he noted that the use of the actor’s face could be “a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life,” the artist promised to overhaul the artwork issued for auction.
He stressed that 50 percent of earnings from the redesigned artwork would still be donated to the Colon Cancer Foundation.
Like imagine getting a digital link to a gif of ur late best friend or co-worker’s golden head like that’s so weird right? Like that’s really wrong? No one’s death should be treated as a gift bag item?
— Jenn wants to be a tv writer ✨ (@jenn0wow) April 25, 2021
Putting a Chadwick Boseman NFT in the gift bag, as well as restructuring the traditional order of the ceremony so to end on Best Actor, seemingly to have a moment for Chadwick, all reeks of the Academy trying to capitalise on a tragedy in order to get ratings. Bad taste. #Oscars
— Harriet King (she/her) (@harrietnking) April 26, 2021
Sooooooo lemme get this straight:
They rushed the ‘in memoriam’ section to get to Chadwick’s face last
Changed the order of the winners to tease Chadwick winning last
and then at the end of the night everyone gets an NFT of Chadwick’s head?
This all feels wrong.#Oscars
— Rendy Jones (@Rendy_Jones) April 26, 2021
Creating a Chadwick Boseman NFT and not even giving him an posthumous Oscar is the best example of everything wrong today. https://t.co/HewV7sH9io
— Dylan Tucson (@DylanTucson) April 26, 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
[via Gizmodo, images via various sources]