Next year’s Academy Awards may include the addition of a major award to the late Chadwick Boseman’s acting legacy.
Netflix has confirmed it will campaign for Boseman in the lead actor category for his role as Levee in the upcoming Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Viola Davis, who already has a supporting actress Oscar on her mantel, plays the “Mother of the Blues” and will be submitted for best actress. Other actors in the cast, including Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts and Taylour Paige, will campaign in the supporting categories.
If nominated, it will be only the second time a film has garnered at least two Black acting nomination since the 1985 film “The Color Purple.”
An adaptation of Pulitzer Prize winner August Wilson’s 1982 play of the same name, the film’s setting is Chicago in 1927, and chronicles the tumultuous relationship between Ma Rainey, aspiring trumpeter Levee, and the white producers who are trying to wrest away ownership of her music.
As Levee, Boseman acts as an crucial source of conflict for Davis’ Ma Rainey, as the actress told Entertainment Weekly, “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.”
With Boseman in the lead actor race, he’ll be up against Oscar favorites Anthony Hopkins in “The Father,” and his “Da 5 Bloods” co-star Delroy Lindo. He also has a chance in the supporting actor category for his work in the Spike Lee film.
Variety reports that Boseman would become the first posthumous best actor nominee since 1995 and the third posthumous supporting actor nominee in history if the academy selects him in or both of those categories in January.
When discussing her experience on the set with Boseman on “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Viola Davis depicted her co-star as “the ultimate collaborator.”
“A lot of actors mistake their presence for the event,” she told The New York Times. “An actor of Chadwick’s status usually comes on and it’s their ego who comes on before them: This is what they want, this is what they’re not going to do.
“That was absolutely, 150 percent off the table with Chadwick. He could completely discard whatever ego he had, whatever vanity he had, and welcome Levee in.”
This will be Boseman’s last role following his passing on Aug. 28 from colon cancer. He was 43 years old.
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” debuts on Netflix on Dec. 18.