Awards season isn’t based on sentimentality, and the best performances are typically the ones that walk away with the prizes, but anyone that’s seen Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom since it arrived on Netflix yesterday will be fully aware that Chadwick Boseman‘s outstanding turn as Levee has made him the instant frontrunner to sweep the board for Best Actor at virtually every upcoming ceremony.
George C. Wolfe’s adaptation of the August Wilson play is very much a performance-driven piece, and what it lacks in any sort of visual dynamism or narrative propulsion it more than makes up for in terms of the phenomenal work from the ensemble across the board. Turning plays into movies can often leave the finished product feeling a little too ‘stagey,’ but everyone in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is so good in their roles that you can’t help but get swept up in the story.
Viola Davis is also guaranteed to be in the Best Actress conversation, but the movie belongs to Boseman. The Black Panther star is an absolute force of nature in every scene he appears in, running the entire emotional spectrum in what’s easily one of the year’s finest performances. Netflix were already planning a major Oscar campaign, and based on the reactions that you can see below, fans are fully throwing their weight behind the idea.
— Monae G. (@AllEyezOnMonae) December 19, 2020
Chadwick gotta win this Oscar.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) December 19, 2020
— Elson (@Elsonshellscil) December 19, 2020
It amazes me the amount of energy Chadwick Boseman gave us for this movie though he was in a lot of physical pain. And then he learned how to play the trumpet for real? Just give him the Oscar now! #MaRaineyFilm #MaRaineysBlackBottom pic.twitter.com/wgwPFW4lsy
— Kendra Ann? (@KendraAnn4) December 19, 2020
Chadwick Boseman is a live wire in MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM.
The passion, energy, vigor, and boatloads of swagger shown onscreen make you sad that he’s gone, but comforted by the fact that he didn’t fade away.
It’s a grand performance that’ll nab him an Oscar nomination. pic.twitter.com/nNVNj0g96H
— Dan Buffa (@buffa82) December 15, 2020
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom was bittersweet. Chadwick's final performance is getting him an Oscar nod on merit, and I'd pay to see Viola Davis explore Ma over the course of a series. pic.twitter.com/aGs1pG4VmP
— L.Mayne (@LMWrites) December 16, 2020
— Thummerer Márk (@kobretti88) December 18, 2020
— MUHIRE (@Mherv007) December 19, 2020
Okay, yea, Chadwick Boseman deserves the Oscar no question about it pic.twitter.com/clTqngzoHZ
— Jacob Throneberry ? (@Tberry57) December 11, 2020
Knowing what we know.L..it is heartbreaking to see Chadwick Boseman as Levee raging at the heavens in #MaRaineyFilm. I think he might just snatch that oscar
— Michele Norris (@michele_norris) December 19, 2020
Watching Chadwick Boseman‘s powerfully charismatic tour de force in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom makes it all the more tragic that we’ll never see such a brilliant talent grace our screens again, but it looks to be a foregone conclusion at this stage that he’ll become the first person to win a posthumous acting Oscar since Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.