Even if 2020 was packed with new releases, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom would surely be talked about as an Oscar contender. Not only does the new Netflix movie feature Chadwick Boseman in his final on-screen performance, but Viola Davis’ turn as Ma Rainey is sure to have her featured in the Best Actress shortlist – at least if this first trailer is anything to go by.
Set for release on December 18, the Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom trailer sets the scene: Chicago, 1927m and Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) is recording a new song with her band. Lurking in the background, however, is horn player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) who not only has eyes for Ma’s friend, but also a place in the spotlight.
Tensions, inevitably, bubble over – both as a result of the tumultuous period in US history and a cramped recording studio – and provides ample material for Davis and Boseman to shine.
2021 could be a big awards season for Netflix as a whole, too. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will likely get recognition, though may have strong competition in The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Mank, both whispered about as Best Picture frontrunners in this, the most barren of moviegoing calendar years.
But, like in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, it’s Davis and Boseman who could be jostling for the most recognition – and it’s looking like a fitting curtain call for the late actor.