Chadwick Boseman Scores Posthumous Independent Spirit Award Nomination for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom
On Tuesday morning, Boseman — who died in August after a private four-year battle with colon cancer — was revealed to be amongst the nominees for the 36th iteration of the awards ceremony, earning a nomination for best male lead for his performance in the 2020 film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. The movie marks Boseman's final film role.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is based on August Wilson's 1982 play about the "Mother of Blues" Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) and her experience with white management at the time. The Netflix movie takes place in 1927 Chicago and explores the racial tension in the music world as white record executives profited off of Black artists.
Among the other nominees in the category are Riz Ahmed for The Sound of Metal, Rob Morgan for Bull, Steven Yeun for Minari and Adarsh Gourav for The White Tiger.
The 36th Independent Spirit Awards will take place on Thursday, April 22 and will broadcast live on IFC at 10 p.m. EST.
Boseman previously received a posthumous award nomination in the best actor category of the IFP Gotham Awards, and though he lost the award to Ahmed, 38, the actor was instead one of the recipients of the Gotham Awards Tribute prize. Boseman's widow, Simone Ledward Boseman, spoke out for the first time since his death to accept the honor earlier this year.
"He is the most honest person I'd ever met," she said during an emotional speech honoring the actor. "He actively searched for it, in himself, those around him and the moment. The truth can be a very easy thing for the self to avoid. But if one does not live in truth, then it's impossible to live life."
"So it became how he lived his life, day in and day out," she said. "Imperfect but determined. He was blessed to live many lives within his concentrated one. He developed his understanding of what it meant to be the one, the none and the all. 'A vessel to be poured into and out of,' he'd said."
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She continued, "He harnessed the power of letting go, and letting God's love shine through. He realized that when one is able to recognize that when their strength does not come from themself, they rarely mess up. That's what he was doing when he was acting. Modeling for us a path to true fulfillment."
"May we not let his conviction be in vain. May our spirits be fertile soil for God's wisdom to fall upon. So thank you. Praise God," Ledward Boseman added.
She said it was an "honor to receive this award on behalf of my husband," adding it was an "acknowledgment of not only his profound work but of his impact on this industry and this world."
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Boseman's final film performance could continue to see his name etched in movie history after the late actor earned rave reviews for his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Should he be nominated for Best Actor at the 2021 Academy Awards, Boseman will be the first posthumous nominee in the category since Massimo Troisi for 1995's Il Postino.
If he is nominated for Best Supporting Actor, he would become the third person in Oscar history to do so, following Ralph Richardson in 1984's Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes and Heath Ledger in 2008's The Dark Knight.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is now streaming on Netflix.