The 2020 Emmy Awards were unlike any in history due to COVID-19, but they rose above the restrictions and delivered a very entertaining show. Jimmy Kimmel hosted from a deserted Staples Arena with participants appearing via video conference from their homes, as many poked fun at the unusual arrangement.
The tone was generally upbeat, but the Emmys’ tribute to notable industry figures that have died over the last year proved to be quite moving. It was soundtracked by H.E.R. covering Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” and honored Glee star Naya Rivera, presenter Regis Philbin and Big Bird performer Caroll Spinney (among many others). Most impactful, though, was the appearance of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, whose death last month after secretly battling cancer shocked and saddened the world. The montage concluded with footage of Boseman delivering a speech against a backdrop of the Wakandan Ancestral Plane while shooting stars passed through the sky.
While the actor is primarily known for his work on the silver screen, he also appeared in many TV shows over his career, popping up in bit parts in Law & Order, CSI: NY, ER, Cold Case, Fringe and playing a lead role in Persons Unknown. More recently, he co-hosted Saturday Night Live in 2018 with Cardi B and will feature in the MCU animated series What If…? on Disney+.
Boseman was also remembered at a memorial service in his home town of Anderson, South Carolina earlier this month. This was accompanied by a public screening of Black Panther in an outdoor amphitheater and multiple speeches, with Deanna Brown-Thomas, daughter of James Brown (who Boseman played in Get On Up), describing him as “the epitome of black excellence.”
Chadwick Boseman has been buried at Welfare Baptist Church Cemetery in Belton, South Carolina, but expect further tributes to him to come throughout awards season.