Chadwick Boseman receives posthumous Golden Globe nomination for ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

Chadwick Boseman leans back against a piano.
Chadwick Boseman as Levee in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
(David Lee/Netflix)

In what is becoming one of the major narratives of the current awards season, Chadwick Boseman earned a posthumous Golden Globes nomination Wednesday morning for lead actor in a motion picture, drama, his first nod from the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

The late actor, who died in August at the age of 43 after a three-year-long battle with colon cancer, was nominated for his role as Levee, a gifted but troubled trumpet player in Netflix’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Directed by George C. Wolfe, the 1920s-set story was adapted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson from the August Wilson play.

Boseman’s “Ma Rainey” co-star Viola Davis, also a Globe nominee for her work, was among those who shared her memories with The Times last year: “Every time he came on set it was fiercely, absolutely about the work,” Davis said. “He was an artist, Chadwick was. He was an absolute joy.”


Having already received Gotham and Spirit nominations, in addition to winner or runner-up citations from the Chicago, Los Angeles and National Society of Film Critics critics groups, Boseman is considered a front-runner to receive a lead actor Academy Award nomination for “Ma Rainey‘s.”

That would make the “Black Panther” star the fifth actor to receive a posthumous best lead actor Oscar nomination alongside James Dean (“East of Eden” and “Giant”), Peter Finch (“Network”), Spencer Tracy (“Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”) and Massimo Troisi (“Il Postino”). Heath Ledger and Ralph Richardson received posthumous supporting actor nods for “The Dark Knight” and “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,” respectively.