Netflix to Campaign Chadwick Boseman as Best Actor for Final Performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Netflix will campaign Chadwick Boseman in the Best Actor category at the 2021 Oscars for his role as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the late actor's final film releasing in December. If Boseman is one of the five actors nominated in the lead actor category, it will mark his first Academy Award nomination. A nod would also be the category's first posthumous nomination since Italian actor Massimo Troisi received a nomination for Il Postino: The Postman at the 68th Academy Awards in 1996. Should Boseman be named Best Actor, he would become just the third recipient of a posthumous Academy Award for acting after Peter Finch (Best Actor, Network) and Heath Ledger (Best Supporting Actor, The Dark Knight).

The streaming service confirmed its plans to campaign Boseman with Variety. Additionally, Boseman will be considered for Best Supporting Actor in the Spike Lee-directed Da 5 Bloods, also from Netflix.

Variety adds star Viola Davis, who won her first Oscar for Best Actress opposite Denzel Washington in Fences, will campaign in the Best Actress category. Campaigning in the supporting acting categories are co-stars Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, and Taylour Paige.

Boseman is likely to be nominated for Best Actor, according to Variety's Awards Circuit predictions. The five likeliest actors to compete in the category are Boseman, Anthony Hopkins (The Father), Delroy Lindo (Da 5 Bloods), Steven Yeun (Minari), and Lakeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah), according to the outlet's predictions.

Should Boseman be double-nominated for his roles in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Da 5 Bloods, he could compete against his Black Panther co-star Daniel Kaluuya in the Best Supporting Actor category. According to more predictions from Variety’s Awards Circuit, predicted nominees include Bill Murray (On the Rocks), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami), Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7), Stanley Tucci (Supernova), and Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah).

Boseman died in August at the age of 43 following a private, four-year battle with colon cancer. While undergoing treatment, Boseman filmed such works as Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Da 5 Bloods.


On October 19, Netflix released the first trailer for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Its synopsis is found below.

Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary 'Mother of the Blues,' Ma Rainey (Academy Award winner Viola Davis). Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio’s claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman) — who has an eye for Ma’s girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry — spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories revealing truths that will forever change the course of their lives.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom releases on Netflix on December 18.