Chadwick Boseman becomes only the seventh person in the history of the awards to earn a posthumous Oscar nod, following his death last year.

If you haven’t yet seen it, Chadwick Boseman’s final turn in Netflix’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a searingly rage-filled performance, perhaps even his greatest, in a career cut far, far too short.

As performances go, it would have been impossible to ignore in any given year, but the tragic circumstances of Boseman’s death in August at the age of just 43 mean that his Best Actor nomination leaves him as the seventh person in Oscars history to be nominated posthumously.

Other posthumous nominations throughout the history of the Academy Awards include James Dean, Spencer Tracy, Peter Finch, Ralph Richardson, Massimo Troisi, and Heath Ledger, who of course was awarded an Oscar for his turn as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. James Dean was nominated posthumously for two films, East Of Eden and Giant. 

Boseman’s legacy certainly doesn’t need an Oscar to further embellish it. His portrayal of T’Challa in 2018’s Black Panther shifted the cultural landscape of both America and the world, bringing a unifying message of hope and a brighter future to audiences beleaguered by a real world full of polarising rhetoric and suffering from the destructive nature of a seemingly ceaseless culture war.

Whilst unnecessary as the quality of his work stands on its own, it is still satisfying to see Boseman honoured for what may well be the best performance of his career. If you haven’t yet seen Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, it’s available on Netflix to watch right now and is highly recommended.

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