Da 5 Bloods was one of the last films Chadwick Boseman starred in before his death in August

By Alexia Fernández
January 26, 2021 03:25 PM
Chadwick Boseman in Da 5 Bloods
Credit: Netflix

Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods has been named the best film of 2020 by the National Board of Review.

The NBR announced its 2020 award winners on Tuesday with Lee, 63, taking home the award for best director.

Along with the film and Lee being honored, Chadwick Boseman, who starred in the film, was posthumously awarded the NBR Icon Award, an honor that celebrates the cinematic contributions that are meaningful to history, culture and excellence in motion pictures.

"The NBR is proud to honor Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee, and the film's incredible ensemble cast, along with all of our 2020 awardees," said NBR President Annie Schulhof. "Lee is one of our greatest filmmakers, a bold auteur with a cinematic vision and an astute perspective on human relationships, focusing at times on that intersection between the personal and the political."

"Da 5 Bloods is not only a unique portrait of the experience and lingering trauma of Black Vietnam War veterans, but also a moving story of enduring friendship, a suspenseful jungle treasure hunt, and a powerful reckoning with the American dream," Schulhof continued. "We are also honored to present the posthumous NBR Icon Award to Chadwick Boseman, an extraordinary talent who represented the best of what an actor could be no matter what the role."

Among the other honorees were Riz Ahmed, who was awarded the best actor award for Sound of Metal, Carey Mulligan for best actress in Promising Young Woman, Paul Raci for best supporting actor in South of Metal and Youn Yuh-jung for best supporting actress in Minari

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Da 5 Bloods follows four African American vets, Paul (Delroy Lindo), Otis (Clarke Peters), Eddie (Norm Lewis) and Melvin (Isiah Whitlock Jr.), who travel back to Vietnam to locate the remains of their fallen squad leader and the buried treasure they left behind during the war.

The group is joined by Paul's son (played by The Last Black Man in San Francisco's Jonathan Majors), and Boseman plays the late squad leader in flashbacks, referred to as the "best damn soldier that ever lived."

In August, during his annual Brooklyn ♥ MJ block party for Michael Jackson's birthday in August, Lee paid tribute to Boseman — who died in August at 43 following a four-year-long struggle with colon cancer — dedicating Jackson's song "Gone Too Soon" to the actor.

Lee reflected on his time working with the late star, saying, "We filmed Da 5 Bloods in Thailand, and it was hot, jungles, mountains, and Chadwick was there with us all the way. I never, ever suspected that anything was wrong. No one knew he was going through treatment, chemotherapy."

He went on to call Boseman a "trooper" and someone who "never complained," adding, "He was there every single minute in the moment. And his performance is a testament to what he put into that role, and all his roles. We miss you, Chadwick, we're going to celebrate your life."