Almost seven months after his death, Chadwick Boseman was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award on Monday for his final performance as Levee Green in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Due to the Black Panther star’s untimely death, the nomination for best actor was expected but still unprecedented. Boseman is the first Black performer to ever be nominated posthumously for an Oscar.
The Anderson, South Carolina native died at the age of 43 on Aug. 28 after a lengthy bout with colon cancer. A fight he hid from the public eye as he continued to work tirelessly on several projects over the course of four years.
Three months after Boseman’s death, the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was released on Netflix. Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter whose dreams end tragically during a recording session with Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) at a white-owned record label.
Boseman was nominated alongside Steven Yeun (“Minari”), Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”) and Gary Oldman (“Mank”).
According to the Oscars, only seven actors have previously been nominated after their death: Jeanne Eagels, James Dean, Spencer Tracy, Peter Finch, Ralph Richardson, Massimo Troisi and Heath Ledger. Two ultimately won: Finch for his performance in 1976’s “Network” and Ledger for 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”
Critics believe Boseman is a favorite to win for a performance that’s been called the best work of his life. He won the Golden Globe for best actor in a drama last month.
This is the first Oscar nomination for Boseman. He previously won a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2018 for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture in Black Panther.