Chadwick Boseman's wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, delivered an emotional acceptance speech Sunday night after the late actor's posthumous Critics Choice Awards win. Boseman, who died last August after being diagnosed with colon cancer four years ago, was named best actor for his role as troubled trumpet player Levee in Netflix's in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, a win that Ledward called bittersweet.
Accepting the award on her husband's behalf in a virtual appearance, Ledward began her speech by noting, "For those of us who know Chad intimately, personally, professionally, those he taught, those he gave a word of advice, those who taught him - it is so hard to find a celebratory feeling in these moments as proud as we are of him." Fighting back tears, Ledward said "his work deserves this. His work in this film deserves this - he deserves this," according to Entertainment Tonight. She went on to reflect on what she believed her husband would say if he were able to accept the award himself.
"And so, he would always thank God first and foremost in everything. He would always honor his mother and his father. He would always acknowledge those who came before him, those who charted the path, those who gave him their gifts," she said. "He may say something about the importance of this story, about the importance of Black voices telling Black stories. He may take this moment to give honor to August Wilson, one of the greatest playwrights of our time."
Ledward ended the speech by sharing an inspiring message, telling viewers, "As I recently read, societies grow great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they may never sit." She said that while "our society may be a far cry from great," she knows "that the seeds you planted will grow into forests, and one day we too will be tall enough to reach the heavens. Thank you Critic's Choice and thank you, Chad."
Boseman beat out seven other nominees — including Ben Affleck, Riz Ahmed, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Delroy Lindo, Gary Oldman, and Steven Yeun — to take him the award Sunday night. He was also nominated, Best Supporting Actor for Da 5 Bloods and Best Acting Ensemble for both Ma Rainey's and Da 5 Bloods. His Sunday night win marked his second posthumous win in less than a month, Ledward having delivered an acceptance speech on her husband's behalf after he posthumously received best performance by an actor in a drama at the 2021 Golden Globes in late February.