While many questions linger about what a pandemic-era Oscars ceremony will look like, this is now certain: Chadwick Boseman will get major consideration for awards.
The “Black Panther” star, who died in August at age 43 after a private battle with cancer, will be in the running in the Best Actor race for his upcoming work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Netflix confirmed to Variety on Wednesday.
The streaming service will launch the Oscar campaign for Boseman, who plays trumpet player Levee in the adaptation of August Wilson’s 1982 play, with the hope that his final performance will be recognized as an award-winning one.
Before Netflix confirmed the news, confusion surrounded as to what category best represented Boseman’s turn. But according to Variety, “sources have shared that early viewings of the film adaptation make a stronger and definitive leading depiction.”
While the 2021 ceremony is still months away, Oscar prognosticators believe Boseman be could be up against Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”), Delroy Lindo (“Da 5 Bloods”), Stanley Tucci (“Supernova”) and Riz Ahmed
(“Sound of Metal”) for the award.
The New York Times’ awards season pundit Kyle Buchanan wrote on Twitter Wednesday that Boseman will “almost certainly win” the award, asserting that he’s “so good in his final film performance that it feels undeniable.”
Netflix is also campaigning on Boseman’s behalf in the Best Supporting Actor category for his performance in “Da 5 Bloods,” which could result in him scoring double acting nominations at next year’s ceremony. His work portraying U.S. freedom fighter “Stormin’” Norman Earl Holloway in the Spike Lee-directed war drama earned him rave reviews earlier this year.
Should he win the Best Actor trophy, Boseman will be the second actor to posthumously win in the category, following Peter Finch, who won for his role in the 1976 film “Network.” Finch, 60, suffered a fatal heart attack months before the ceremony.
Australian actor Heath Ledger won the Best Supporting Actor for his performance in 2008′s “The Dark Knight,” which premiered several months after his death at age 28.
As this year’s Oscar race takes shape, Viola Davis, who won in the Best Supporting Actress category for 2016′s “Fences,” will vie for the Best Actress award for her portrayal of the titular Chicago blues titan in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Other cast members ― Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts and Taylour Paige ― will compete in the supporting races.
The trailer for the film, which arrives on Netflix Dec. 18, debuted earlier this week.
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