Oscars 2021: Chadwick Boseman NFT To Be Redesigned Amid Controversy

An NFT of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman commissioned for Oscar nominee gift bags is getting a redesign following controversy over its design as well as Boseman's surprising Best Actor award loss at the 93rd Academy Awards on Sunday night. Last week, it was reported that 3D artist Andre Oshea had been commissioned to create the artwork to be auctioned on Rarible with 50 percent of the proceeds going to The Colon Cancer Foundation.

Heading into Sunday's Oscars, Boseman was, for many, the favorite to win in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom as Boseman had already won the prize at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards, and Screen Actors Guild Awards. Ultimately, Anthony Hopkins took home the Oscar for his role in The Father in a surprising upset. However, that's not the only reason the NFT is being redesigned.

Soon after the announcement of the NFT, according to Variety many Twitter users accused Oshea of stealing a 3D print model of Boseman's head for the artwork after users found a royalty-free license for the same head design on CGTrader for $50. There was also controversy about the Boseman NFT more broadly, with some online questioning if Boseman's family had been consulted about this commission while others saw it as problematic for other reasons.

While Oshea has not directly addressed the controversy over the 3D model, he has responded by taking down the auction and releasing a statement, calling it "a huge learning experience" and noting that he will be redesigning the artwork for auction later this week. In his statement, he clarifies a few details about the NFT as well.

"I want to address the comments, press, and the misinformation around the unveiling of my tribute NFT artwork of Chadwick Boseman this past weekend. I want you all to know that I've listened, heard, and taken it all in as an artist and I apologize for any upset caused," Oshea wrote.

"I was one of several artists asked by Nomine (ETH) to produce an NFT artwork to celebrate the Oscar nominees with a 50/50 split between a charity and the artists. My specific task was to produce an artwork in the memory of late Chadwick Boseman which was NOT included in the gift bags given to the winners but was set to be auctioned off as a single 1/1 NFT."

He continued, explaining that he created the 3D animation inspired by Black Panther to "create a digital monument that embodied Chadwick's influence as a hero" but wrote that he realized that the NFT as it currently is designed could be a "triggering reminder" of the actor's death, not a celebration of his life.

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"I now recognize that Chadwick's face is a triggering reminder of his death rather than his life, and I will be redesigning the artwork to be auctioned off later this week," he wrote. "I appreciate all of the love and support from both community and strangers and I'm motivated to push forward with this piece. I will still be donating 50% of the funds to the Colon Cancer Foundation to fund their invaluable work with cancer research and testing."

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