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91st Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

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This past Sunday, Chadwick Boseman may have been “robbed” of the Oscar for Best Actor for his highly acclaimed final performance in the Netflix adaptation of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. However, there was supposed to be an NFT in the swag bags of the 93rd Academy Awards’ attendees to honor the late Black Panther star, and 50 percent of the token’s sales were to be donated to the Colon Cancer Foundation. But now, thanks to confusion around the relationship between the organizers of the promotion and the Oscars, as well as the source NFT’s original artwork, the entire project has been scrapped for a later re-release.

On April 24, one day before the 93rd Oscars, 28-year-old artist Andre Oshea⁠ announced via his social media that he was blessed with the honor “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.” The piece he developed was a digital bust of Boseman, and he posted that bidders should be ready to stake their claims on Sunday. “Also, 50% of all proceeds will be donated to the @coloncancerfoundation,” Oshea wrote. “We can change lives with this NFT!!… Place your bid on @rariblecom & don’t forget, every single bid matters. We are creating history here.”

Unfortunately, for all his enthusiasm, it appears Oshea failed to “understand the assignment.” Firstly, it was not the Oscars who commissioned him but a crypto art marketplace called Nomine(eth). “[We were] designed to bring rising artists together and raise money for charitable causes,” the company wrote on its site. “Nomine(eth) is not associated with the Oscars® or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in any way. The Academy did not sponsor or endorse Nomine(eth) in any way, shape [sic] or form.”

Nomine(eth) made sure to put distance between itself between the Academy Awards, stating “The “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bags are NOT affiliated in any way with the OSCARS® or the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. A.M.P.A.S. does not award, sponsor, endorse or provide these Gift Bags.”

For her part, Cindy Borassi, president of the Colon Cancer Foundation, remains gracious about being involved and said, “CCF is proud to be affiliated with the “Everyone Wins” Nominee Gift Bags honoring the year’s best and brightest stars.”

It also appeared that some people are upset with Boseman’s bust as the NFT and saw it as an unintentionally morbid reminder of the actor. So on Monday, Oshea took to social media and addressed some uncertainties about the situation. “My specific task was to produce an artwork in the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman which was NOT included in the gift bags… but to be auctioned off as a single 1/1 NFT,” he shared.

“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,” Oshea said. He apologized and continued, “I now recognize that Chadwick’s face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than 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 this piece.”

Fans on social media have mostly had words of support and encouragement for Oshea, but there are still others who take issue with him over alleged claims of plagiarizing the bust in the first place. Is there a legitimate case here or is this really just a gross misunderstanding? Or should Andre Oshea⁠ simply be removed from the project altogether? See the responses to Oshea’s apology below and let us know what you think.