Friday, April 12, 2024

A Posthumous Oscar for Chadwick Boseman Seems More Likely Than Ever for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”


There have only been two posthumous Oscars for acting in the history of the Academy Awards. The last one was Heath Ledger, for “The Dark Knight,” in 2008. Before that it was only Peter Finch in “Network,” 1977.

But now there may be a third. It does seem like Chadwick Boseman has a strong chance of a nomination if not a win for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” directed by Denzel Washington and co-starring a major ensemble that starts with Viola Davis.

Boseman died last month after a secret four year battle with colon cancer. The outpouring of love for him was amazing, enough to propel Boseman to a rare Oscar after he’s left us. I wouldn’t be surprised.

A big feature in the New York Times broke this afternoon, well in advance of the movie’s premiere on Netflix on December 18th. That’s just the first move by Netflix PR on the way to a major campaign for Bosewick, Davis, Washington, and the film. In Best Actor, Boseman will have a clear shot at the big prize. For Davis, if she goes in lead, she’s got Frances McDormand and probably Jennifer Hudson to deal with.

One irony: the last posthumous Oscar nomination went to the late August Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, for “Fences,” also directed by Washington and starring Davis, in 2016.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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