Netflix submits Chadwick Boseman’s Ma Rainey performance for lead actor awards consideration

Marcus Jones
·2 min read

David Lee/Netflix

The Oscars may allow Chadwick Boseman to make one final, history-making mark on awards season.

EW has confirmed that Netflix will be submitting both Boseman, and costar Viola Davis in the lead actor categories for their work in the upcoming Netflix film Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

Adapted from the 1982 August Wilson play of the same name, the film is set in 1920s Chicago, and follows Ma Rainey’s Black band members and white record producers as they both try to get the irascible “Mother of Blues” to record some of her songs.

As ambitious trumpeter Levee, Boseman in particular serves as a foil to Davis as Ma Rainey, with the actress telling EW, “Levee represents everything that is antithetical towards her belief system. He is representative of a new phase of music that will render her extinct. He is unruly and undisciplined.”

The explosive role is the last one Boseman will play following his death on Aug. 28, after a private four year battle with colon cancer. The actor was 43 years old.

By moving Boseman to lead actor, it puts him in contention against acting heavyweights like Anthony Hopkins in The Father, and his Da 5 Bloods costar Delroy Lindo. While the move places him against Lindo, it frees Boseman up from competing against himself in the Best Supporting Actor category, where he has a chance to be nominated for playing Stormin' Norman in the Spike Lee epic, which was also made for Netflix.

While there have been posthumous Oscar nominees, and award wins, like Heath Ledger winning for The Dark Knight in 2009, Boseman would be the very first person to posthumously be nominated for two acting awards in one year.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom premieres on Netflix on Dec. 18.

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