2021 Academy Awards: ‘Nomadland’ is the top winner

April 25, 2021

by Carla Hay

“Nomadland” producers Peter Spears, Frances McDormand, Chloé Zhao, Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey at the 93rd annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of ABC)

With three prizes, including Best Picture, “Nomadland” was the top winner for the 93rd Annual Academy Awards, which took place place at Union Station and at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on April 25, 2021. There was no host for the ceremony, which was telecast in the U.S. on ABC. Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland” also won the awards for Best Director (for Chloé Zhao) and Best Actress (for Frances McDormand). In the movie, McDormand portrays a widow who lives out of her van and travels across different states in U.S. to find work.

With 10 nods, the Netflix drama “Mank” was the top nominee and ended up with two Academy Awards. Movies that won two Oscars each included:

  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. Pictures): Best Supporting Actor (for Daniel Kaluuya), Best Original Song (“Fight for You”)
  • “Mank” (Netflix): Best Production Design, Best Cinematography
  • “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix): Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design
  • “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios): Best Film Editing, Best Sound
  • “Soul” (Pixar Studios): Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score

The awards are voted for by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. For the 2021 ceremony, eligible movies were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and (due to the coronavirus pandemic) the eligibility period was extended to movies released in January and February 2021. Because of the pandemic, movies that were planned for a theatrical release but were released directly to home video or on streaming services were also eligible. Beginning with the 2022 Academy Awards ceremony, there will be a required 10 movies nominated for Best Picture. From 2009 to 2021, the rule was that there could be five to 10 movies per year nominated for Best Picture.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were less people invited to the Oscar ceremony in 2021. The presenters included Riz Ahmed, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Viola Davis, Laura Dern, Harrison Ford, Bong Joon Ho, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Joaquin Phoenix, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Steven Yeun, Renée Zellweger and Zendaya.

The 2021 Oscar ceremony also marked big changes to the show in other ways. Performances of the year’s Oscar-nominated songs usually take place during the ceremony. Instead, the performances of the five nominated songs were pre-recorded and televised during the 90-minute pre-show telecast “Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” which included live interviews from the Oscar red carpet. This pre-show telecast was hosted by actors Ariana DeBose and Lil Rel Howery.

Howery acted as an unofficial emcee during parts of the Oscar telecast, which included a segment where Howery played a trivia game where people in the audience had to guess if a song was an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee or wasn’t nominated for an Oscar at all. The segment started out flat and awkward. Andra Day got her answer correct that Prince’s “Purple Rain” song wasn’t even nominated. (However, the “Purple Rain” soundtrack score did an Oscar.)Kaluuya incorrectly guessed that Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” didn’t win an Oscar. (It did.)

But the segment end up being saved by Glenn Close, who correctly guessed that E.U.’s “Da Butt” (from Spike Lee’s 1988 movie “School Daze”) wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, and she proceeded to show her knowledge of ’80s hip-hop by getting up and doing “Da Butt” dance. This moment got a lot of laughs and cheers and will be sure to be remembered as the most unexpected comedic moment at the 2021 Academy Awards. This moment with Close could have been pre-planned and rehearsed since she seemed a little too prepared with an answer, but it didn’t take away from it being one of the show’s highlights that didn’t involve an acceptance speech.

Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins were the producers of the Academy Awards show. They also made some changes to the show’s format. Instead of presenting the prizes for Best Picture last, the awards for Best Actor and Best Actress were presented last. The award for Best Picture was the third-to-last award presented. The prize for Best Director was handed out in the middle of the ceremony, instead of following the tradition of being the second-to-last award handed out during the ceremony.

Another big change was that winners were not limited to a 90-second acceptance speech. Some acceptance speeches lasted longer than three minutes. In addition, there was no live orchestra at the ceremony. Instead, musician Questlove was a DJ at the award show. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the nominees were shown via satellite in various parts of the world, such as London, Paris and Sydney.

The Oscar ceremony made history in some diversity issues, as Zhao (a Chinese-born filmmaker) became the first woman of color to win Best Director. She is also the second woman in Oscar history to win this Best Director prize. (Kathryn Bigelow, director of the 2009 war film “The Hurt Locker,” was the first woman to win the Best Director award in 2010.) Zhao’s victory had been widely predicted, since Zhao won all of the year’s major Best Director awards for “Nomadland” prior to winning the Oscar.

Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” made Oscar history by being the first black people to be nominated for and to win the prize for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. This breakthrough was acknowledged during their acceptance speech for the award, which they share with Sergio Lopez-Rivera. Neal said in her acceptance speech: “I want to say thank you to our ancestors who put the work in, who were denied, but never gave up. I also stand here—as Jamika and I break this glass ceiling—with so much excitement for the future.”

Meanwhile, South Korean actress Yuh-jung Youn of “Minari” became the first Asian-born woman to win in the Best Supporting Actress category. In 1958, Japanese American actress Miyoshi Umeki of the 1957 movie “Sayonara” became the first Asian woman overall to win in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Although the late Chadwick Boseman was widely predicted to win the Best Actor award for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which was his last film role, the prize went to Anthony Hopkins for “The Father.” (Hopkins did not attend the Oscar ceremony and was not available by video.) At 83 years old, Hopkins became the oldest person to win an Oscar in an actor/actress category, surpassing the record set by “Beginners” co-star Christopher Plummer, who won the Best Supporting Actor award in 2012, at the age of 82.

Boseman won several Best Actor prizes (including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award) for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” leading up to Oscar ceremony. However, there was a foreshadowing that Boseman might not win the Oscar when he was nominated for but didn’t win the prizes for Best Actor at the BAFTA Awards and Film Independent Spirit Awards, which were the two major award shows that took place closest to the Oscars. Boseman died of colon cancer in August 2020.

The Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, with MPTF officials Bob Beitcher, Norma Carranza and Jennifer Jorge acceping the prize on stage. Tyler Perry received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a non-competitive prize. In his speech, he urged people to “stand up to hate” and to be more giving and compassionate with each other.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards:

*=winner

Best Picture

“The Father” (Sony Pictures Classics) 

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros.) 

“Mank” (Netflix) 

“Minari” (A24) 

“Nomadland” (Searchlight Pictures)*

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features) 

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios) 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix) 

Best Director

Thomas Vinterberg (“Another Round”)

David Fincher (“Mank”) 

Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”) 

Chloé Zhao (“Nomadland”)*

Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) 

Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)*

Gary Oldman (“Mank”) 

Steven Yeun (“Minari”) 

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”) 

Andra Day (“The United States v. Billie Holiday”) 

Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) 

Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)*

Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) 

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) 

Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)*

Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) 

Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”) 

LaKeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) 

Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”) 

Olivia Colman (“The Father”) 

Amanda Seyfried (“Mank”) 

Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”)*

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.” Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Mazer, Jena Friedman and Lee Kern; Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Dan Swimer and Nina Pedrad

“The Father,” Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller*

“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“One Night in Miami,” Kemp Powers 

“The White Tiger,” Ramin Bahrani 

Best Original Screenplay

“Judas and the Black Messiah.” Screenplay by Will Berson, Shaka King; Story by Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas and Keith Lucas

“Minari,” Lee Isaac Chung 

“Promising Young Woman,” Emerald Fennell*

“Sound of Metal.” Screenplay by Darius Marder and Abraham Marder; Story by Darius Marder, Derek Cianfrance

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Aaron Sorkin 

Best Cinematography

“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Sean Bobbitt 

“Mank,” Erik Messerschmidt*

“News of the World,” Dariusz Wolski 

“Nomadland,” Joshua James Richards 

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Phedon Papamichael 

Best Film Editing

“The Father,” Yorgos Lamprinos

“Nomadland,” Chloé Zhao 

“Promising Young Woman,” Frédéric Thoraval 

“Sound of Metal,” Mikkel E.G. Nielsen*

“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Alan Baumgarten 

Best Sound

“Greyhound,” Warren Shaw, Michael Minkler, Beau Borders and David Wyman

“Mank,” Ren Klyce, Jeremy Molod, David Parker, Nathan Nance and Drew Kunin

“News of the World,” Oliver Tarney, Mike Prestwood Smith, William Miller and John Pritchett

“Soul,” Ren Klyce, Coya Elliott and David Parker

“Sound of Metal,” Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michelle Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh*

Best Original Score

“Da 5 Bloods,” Terence Blanchard 

“Mank,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross 

“Minari,” Emile Mosseri 

“News of the World,” James Newton Howard 

“Soul,” Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste*

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”). Music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emile II; Lyric by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas*

“Hear My Voice,” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Music by Daniel Pemberton; Lyric by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite

“Húsavík,” (“Eurovision Song Contest”). Music and Lyric by Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson

“Io Si (Seen),” (“The Life Ahead”). Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Diane Warren and Laura Pausini

“Speak Now,” (“One Night in Miami”). Music and Lyric by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth

Best Animated Feature Film

“Onward” (Pixar) 

“Over the Moon” (Netflix) 

“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon” (Netflix) 

“Soul” (Pixar)*

“Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV+/GKIDS) 

Best International Feature Film

“Another Round” (Denmark)*

“Better Days” (Hong Kong)

“Collective” (Romania) 

“The Man Who Sold His Skin” (Tunisia)

“Quo Vadis, Aida?”(Bosnia and Herzegovina) 

Best Documentary Feature

“Collective” (Magnolia Pictures and Participant) 

“Crip Camp” (Netflix) 

“The Mole Agent” (Gravitas Ventures) 

“My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix)*

“Time” (Amazon Studios) 

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“Emma,” Marese Langan, Laura Allen, Claudia Stolze

“Hillbilly Elegy,” Eryn Krueger Mekash, Patricia Dehaney, Matthew Mungle 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal, Jamika Wilson*

“Mank,” Kimberley Spiteri, Gigi Williams, Colleen LaBaff

“Pinocchio,” Mark Coulier, Dalia Colli, Francesco Pegoretti

Best Costume Design

“Emma,” Alexandra Byrne 

“Mank,” Trish Summerville 

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Ann Roth*

“Mulan,” Bina Daigeler 

“Pinocchio,” Massimo Cantini Parrini

Best Production Design

“The Father.” Production Design: Peter Francis; Set Decoration: Cathy Featherstone

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Production Design: Mark Ricker; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara and Diana Stoughton

“Mank.” Production Design: Donald Graham Burt; Set Decoration: Jan Pascale*

“News of the World.” Production Design: David Crank; Set Decoration: Elizabeth Keenan

“Tenet.” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Kathy Lucas

Best Visual Effects

“Love and Monsters,” Matt Sloan, Genevieve Camilleri, Matt Everitt and Brian Cox 

“The Midnight Sky,” Matthew Kasmir, Christopher Lawrence, Max Solomon and David Watkins

“Mulan,” Sean Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury and Steve Ingram

“The One and Only Ivan,” Nick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones and Santiago Colomo Martinez

“Tenet,” Andrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley and Scott Fisher*

Best Documentary Short Subject

“Colette” (Time Travel Unlimited)*

“A Concerto Is a Conversation” (Breakwater Studios) 

“Do Not Split” (Field of Vision) 

“Hunger Ward” (MTV Documentary Films)

“A Love Song for Latasha” (Netflix) 

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow” (Disney Plus/Pixar)

“Genius Loci” (Kazak Productions) 

“If Anything Happens I Love You” (Netflix)*

“Opera” (Beasts and Natives Alike) 

“Yes-People” (CAOZ hf. Hólamói) 

Best Live-Action Short Film

“Feeling Through” 

“The Letter Room” 

“The Present” 

“Two Distant Strangers”*

“White Eye” 

2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards: ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ ‘The Crown,’ ‘Schitt’s Creek’ win big

April 4, 2021

by Carla Hay

Cast members of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Pictured in front, from left to right: Dusan Brown and Viola Davis. Pictured in back, from left to right: Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts and Glynn Turman (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

The Netflix drama films “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” were the top movie winners at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards show, which was televised on April 4, 2021. TNT and TBS had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was a prerecorded virtual ceremony because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the TV categories, the Netflix drama series “The Crown” and the Pop network comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” had the most TV wins, with two SAG Awards each.

“The Trial of the Chicago 7” won the prize for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” got SAG awards for the late Chadwick Boseman (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role) and Viola Davis (Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role). “The Crown” and “Schitt’s Creek” went into the ceremony with the most awards (five each), while “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” had three nominations each.

Eligible movies were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and in January and February 2021. The eligibility window, which usually ends at the end of a calendar year, was extended for movies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible TV programs were those that premiered on U.S. networks and U.S. streaming services in 2020.

Here is the complete list of winners and nominations for the 2021 SAG Awards:

*=winner

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture 
“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
“Minari” (A24)
“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)*

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)*
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Steven Yeun (“Minari”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)*
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Chadwick Boseman (“Da 5 Bloods”)
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)*
Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Youn Yuh-Jung (“Minari”)*
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Mulan”
“News of the World”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Wonder Woman 1984”*

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)*
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“Ozark” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop)*
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)*
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)*
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)*
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)*

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bill Camp (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)*

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)*
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“The Boys”
“Cobra Kai”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”*
“Westworld”

2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards: ‘The Crown’ and ‘Schitt’s Creek’ are the top nominees

February 4, 2021

by Carla Hay

Pennie Downey, Marion Bailey, Josh O’Connor, Charles Dance, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Erin Doherty, Michael Thomas and Pennie Downie in “The Crown” (Photo by Des Willie/Netflix)

With five nominations each, the Netflix drama series “The Crown” and Pop network’s Canadian comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” are the top contenders at the 26th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which will be televised on April 4, 2021. TNT and TBS will have the U.S. telecast of the show at 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony will not a large gathering but will instead be virtual.

“The Crown” is nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. “Schitt’s Creek,” which ended in 2020 after six seasons, is a contender for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. Male and female cast members from both shows received individual nominations. The SAG Awards do not have supporting actor/actress categories for TV shows.

“The Crown” co-stars Gillian Anderson, Olivia Colman, Emma Corrin are three of the five contenders for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. Meanwhile, Josh O’Connor of “The Crown” is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series. For “Schitt’s Creek,” father and son co-stars Eugene Levy and Dan Levy are each nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series, while Catherine O’Hara and Annie Murphy are among the contenders for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.

For movies, the top nominees scored three nominations each: the Netflix drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the Netflix drama “Da 5 Bloods,” the Netlix drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and the A24 drama “Minari.” All four films are nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

The other nominations for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” are Viola Davis (for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role) and Chadwick Boseman (for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role). The other nominations for “Da 5 Bloods” are for Boseman (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role) and Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture. “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is also up for Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture, as well as Sacha Baron Cohen’s nod for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role. “Minari” co-stars also scored individual nods: Steven Yuen (for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role) and Youn Yuh-Jung (for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role).

The late Boseman (who died of pancreatic cancer in 2020) is one of two actors who received three nominations each at the SAG Awards this year. Colman received the previously mentioned two nominations for “The Crown,” plus a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role, for the Sony Pictures Classics drama “The Father.”

Eligible movies were those released in the U.S. in 2020 and in January and February 2021. The eligibility window, which usually ends at the end of a calendar year, was extended for movies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible TV programs were those that premiered on U.S. networks and U.S. streaming services in 2020.

Snubs and Surprises

Shira Haas in “Unorthodox” (Photo by Anika Molnar/Netflix)

Although “Da 5 Bloods” scored a nod for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Delroy Lindo didn’t make the cut in the category for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He’s still nominated as part of “Da 5 Bloods” cast. Focus Features’ “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and Vertical Entertainment’s “Miss Juneteenth” were completely shut out of the SAG Awards this year, even though they’ve been winning acting awards and nominations elsewhere.

In television, the biggest snubs were for the Netflix limited series “Unorthodox” and for the HBO drama series “Insecure,” which received several Emmy nominations each for the 2019-2020 TV season, but were completely shut of the SAG Awards this year. Also left out of the SAG Awards race was the Amazon Prime Video anthology series “Small Axe.” And all of the programs produced by Ryan Murphy for Netflix were completely snubbed: the limited series “Hollywood” and “Ratched” and the movies “The Boys in the Band” and “The Prom.”

One of the biggest surprises in the movie categories was that the Netflix drama “Hillbilly Elegy,” which got mostly negative reviews, but received two SAG Award nods: Amy Adams is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, while Glenn Close is among the nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role. In the television categories, only two shows are represented in the category for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series: “The Crown” and “Ozark.” Laura Linney and Julia Garner are the nominees from “Ozark.”

Diversity and Inclusion

Cast members of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Pictured in front, from left to right: Dusan Brown and Viola Davis. Pictured in back, from left to right: Chadwick Boseman, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts and Glynn Turman (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

The racial diversity for SAG Award nominees is a big improvement in 2021, compared to 2020. In 2020, people of color were only 14% of the 50 nominees in the SAG Award categories for individuals. In 2021, that percentage doubled to 28%. People of color are about 28% of the U.S. population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and that number is expected to be much higher for the 2020 U.S. Census. Despite the overall increase in people of color who are SAG Award nominees in 2021, compared to 2020, there were some noticeable diversity problems. In the TV categories, no women of color were nominated in the categories for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series and Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series. And absolutely no Latino/Hispanic people received nominations in any of the categories for individuals.

The black nominees in the movie categories for individuals are Boseman for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “Da 5 Bloods”; Davis for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”; Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami”; and Daniel Kaluuya for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Judas and the Black Messiah.” The TV categories for individuals have Sterling K. Brown for NBC’s “This Is Us”; Regé-Jean Page for Netflix’s “Bridgerton”; Daveed Diggs for Disney+’s “Hamilton”; Michaela Coel for HBO’s “I May Destroy You”; and Kerry Washington for Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere.”

In the SAG Award categories for groups this year, three of the five movies nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture have predominantly black casts: “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami.” “Minari,” which is also nominated in this category, has a predominantly Asian cast of Korean heritage.

Asians are represented the most with “Minari,” while Pakistani British actor Riz Ahmed of Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal” got a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. Ahmed’s role in “Sound of Metal” represents the disabled community, since he portrays a heavy metal drummer who goes deaf. Another person of color who received a SAG nomination this year is Egyptian American actor Ramy Youssef of “Ramy,” who’s nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series.

Actors who are nominated for their portrayals of disabled people include the aforementioned Ahmed as a deaf musician in “Sound of Metal” and Anthony Hopkins as a man with dementia in Sony Pictures Classics’ “The Father,” who are each nominated in the same category. In television, Emmy-winning “I Know This Must Be True” star Mark Ruffalo portrays identical twins, one of whom has schizophrenia. For his role in this HBO limited drama series, Ruffalo is nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries.

The LGBTQ community has very little representation among the SAG Award nominees this year. The only LGBTQ acting performances to get recognition are from straight actresses portraying queer women: Davis as real-life lesbian blues singer Ma Rainey in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and Washington as fictional queer artist Mia Warren in “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Here is the complete list of nominations for the 2021 SAG Awards:

MOVIES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture 
“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix)
“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Netflix)
“Minari” (A24)
“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Studios)
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”)
Chadwick Boseman (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Anthony Hopkins (“The Father”)
Gary Oldman (“Mank”)
Steven Yeun (“Minari”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Amy Adams (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”)
Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”)
Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Chadwick Boseman (“Da 5 Bloods”)
Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
Daniel Kaluuya (“Judas and the Black Messiah”)
Jared Leto (“The Little Things”)
Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Maria Bakalova (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
Glenn Close (“Hillbilly Elegy”)
Olivia Colman (“The Father”)
Youn Yuh-Jung (“Minari”)
Helena Zengel (“News of the World”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
“Da 5 Bloods”
“Mulan”
“News of the World”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“Wonder Woman 1984”

TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“Bridgerton” (Netflix)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Lovecraft Country” (HBO)
“Ozark” (Netflix)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Flight Attendant” (HBO Max)
“The Great” (Hulu)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop)
“Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Josh O’Connor (“The Crown”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Gillian Anderson (“The Crown”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Nicholas Hoult (“The Great”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Jason Sudeikis (“Ted Lasso”)
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Kaley Cuoco (“The Flight Attendant”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Bill Camp (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Daveed Diggs (“Hamilton”)
Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”)
Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You”)
Nicole Kidman (“The Undoing”)
Anya Taylor-Joy (“The Queen’s Gambit”)
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
“The Boys”
“Cobra Kai”
“Lovecraft Country”
“The Mandalorian”
“Westworld”

2021 NAACP Image Awards: ‘Black-ish’ is the top nominee

February 2, 2021

With 11 nods, the ABC comedy series “Black-ish” has the most 2021 NAACP Image Awards nominations. Following closely behind with 10 nominations is the Netflix musical movie “Jingle Jangle: Christmas Journey.” The Netflix dramatic film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and the Pixar Animation Studios film “Soul” received nine nominations each. Also getting several nominations are Beyoncé (eight nominations) and the HBO comedy series “Insecure” (seven nominations). Beyoncé’s nominations total includes her nods for her Disney+ “Black Is King” music film (which she starred in and co-directed) and for being a featured performer on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage (Remix).”

The following is a press release from the NAACP and BET:

Today, the full-list of nominees for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards were announced today in a special virtual event on NAACP Image Awards’ Instagram channel hosted by Tony-award winning actress and singer Anika Noni-Rose, actress and singer Chloe Bailey, actress Erika Alexander, actor, dancer, and choreographer Nicco Annan, and actor and singer TC Carson. NAACP Image award-winning and Emmy-nominated talk show “The Real”, kicked-off the announcement revealing nominees in 15 categories ahead of the virtual event. The winners will be revealed during the two-hour LIVE TV special airing on BET and will be simulcast across ViacomCBS Networks including CBS, BET Her, VH1, MTV, MTV2, and LOGO on Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8/7c.

With the rise in usage of streaming services this year, Netflix leads the nominations across the motion picture and television categories with 48 total nominations followed by HBO who received a total of 25 nominations. Beyoncé received the most nominations of any artist in the music recording categories with six, and RCA Records leads with the most nominations across record labels with 12 nominations. For the literary categories HarperCollins Publishers lead with nine nominations.

NAACP additionally announced the nominees for the Special Awards categories which include Entertainer of the Year and Social Justice Impact. Nominees for the Entertainer of the Year award include D-Nice, Regina King, Trevor Noah, Tyler Perry and Viola Davis. Nominees for the Social Justice Impact award include April Ryan, Debbie Allen, LeBron James, Stacey Abrams and Tamika Mallory.

“We are excited to recognize and celebrate this year’s nominees, who at times throughout this unprecedented year have provided moments of levity, brought our communities together, and lifted our spirits through culture when we needed it the most,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. 

“BET shares the NAACP’s commitment to engage and empower our community, and we are proud to serve as partners on the 52nd Annual Image Awards,” said BET President Scott Mills. “The NAACP Image Awards uniquely honors our culture and community, recognizing those who help tell our stories through music, TV, movies, and literature. It is a distinct privilege for us to amplify the incredible work of the NAACP—and the best and brightest creative minds in the entertainment industry—across our ViacomCBS properties.

The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also recognizes individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

One of the most iconic annual celebrations of Black excellence, the NAACP Image Awards draws a crowd of the biggest and brightest stars in Hollywood. Previous years’ attendees include Rihanna, Lizzo, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Marsai Martin, Viola Davis, Gabrielle Union, Kerry Washington, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, Loni Love, Sheryl Underwood, Mandy Moore, Halle Berry, Common, Dwayne Johnson, Audra Day, John Legend, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Oyelowo, Laverne Cox, Octavia Spencer, Issa Rae, Trevor Noah, Yara Shahidi, Danai Gurira, Jacob Latimore, Jill Scott, H.E.R., Jay Pharoah, Jemele Hill, Josh Gad, Loretta Devine, Sylvester Stallone, Meta Golding, Michael Smith, Tyler James Williams, Ava DuVernay, Chadwick Boseman, and many more.

Voting is now open to the public to determine the winners of the 52nd NAACP Image Awards by visiting www.naacpimageawards.net – Voting close on Friday, March 5, 2021. Winners will be revealed during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards telecast. Non-televised award categories will be announced virtually March 22-26, 2021. For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards

Following is the complete list of categories and nominees for the 52nd NAACP Image Awards:

SPECIAL AWARD CATEGORIES

Entertainer of the Year

  • D-Nice
  • Regina King
  • Trevor Noah
  • Tyler Perry
  • Viola Davis

Social Justice Impact

  • April Ryan
  • Debbie Allen
  • LeBron James
  • Stacey Abrams
  • Tamika Mallory

TELEVISION + STREAMING CATEGORIES

Outstanding Comedy Series

  • #blackAF (Netflix)
  • Black-ish (ABC)
  • grown-ish (Freeform)
  • Insecure (HBO)
  • The Last O.G. (TBS)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Anthony Anderson – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Cedric The Entertainer – The Neighborhood (CBS)
  • Don Cheadle – Black Monday (Showtime)
  • Idris Elba – In the Long Run (Starz)
  • Tracy Morgan – The Last O.G. (TBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Issa Rae – Insecure (HBO)
  • Folake Olowofoyeku – Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS)
  • Regina Hall – Black Monday (Showtime)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Yara Shahidi – Grown-ish (Freeform)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

  • Andre Braugher – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (NBC)
  • Deon Cole – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Jay Ellis – Insecure (HBO)
  • Kenan Thompson – Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • Laurence Fishburne – Black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

  • Jenifer Lewis – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Marsai Martin – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Natasha Rothwell – Insecure (HBO)
  • Tichina Arnold – The Neighborhood (CBS)
  • Yvonne Orji – Insecure (HBO)

Outstanding Drama Series

  • All Rise (CBS)
  • Bridgerton (Netflix)
  • Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • Power Book II: Ghost (Starz)
  • This Is Us (NBC)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series

  • Jonathan Majors – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • Keith David – Greenleaf (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Nicco Annan – P-Valley (Starz)
  • Regé-Jean Page – Bridgerton (Netflix)
  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series

  • Angela Bassett – 9-1-1 (FOX)
  • Brandee Evans – P-Valley (Starz)
  • Jurnee Smollett – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • Simone Missick – All Rise (CBS)
  • Viola Davis – How To Get Away With Murder (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Clifford “Method Man” Smith – Power Book II: Ghost (Starz)
  • Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
  • J. Alphonse Nicholson – P-Valley (Starz)
  • Jeffrey Wright – Westworld (HBO)
  • Michael Kenneth Williams – Lovecraft Country (HBO)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Adjoa Andoh – Bridgerton (Netflix)
  • Aunjanue Ellis – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • Lynn Whitfield – Greenleaf (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Mary J. Blige – Power Book II: Ghost (Starz)
  • Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

Outstanding Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special

  • Hamilton (Disney+)
  • Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
  • Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)
  • Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)
  • The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special

  • Blair Underwood – Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)
  • Chris Rock – Fargo (FX)
  • Daveed Diggs – Hamilton (Disney+)
  • Leslie Odom, Jr. – Hamilton (Disney+)
  • Nnamdi Asomugha – Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited–Series or Dramatic Special

  • Aunjanue Ellis – The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)
  • Kerry Washington – Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
  • Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You (HBO)
  • Octavia Spencer – Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (Netflix)
  • Tessa Thompson – Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding News/Information (Series or Special)

  • AM Joy: Remembering John Lewis Special (MSNBC)
  • Desus & Mero: The Obama Interview (Showtime)
  • The Color of Covid (CNN)
  • The New York Times Presents “The Killing of Breonna Taylor” (FX)
  • The Reidout (NBC)

Outstanding Talk Series

  • Red Table Talk (Facebook Watch)
  • Tamron Hall (Syndicated )
  • The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)
  • The Oprah Conversation (Apple TV+)
  • The Shop: Uninterrupted (HBO)

Outstanding Reality Program, Reality Competition or Game Show (Series)

  • Celebrity Family Feud (ABC)
  • Iyanla: Fix My Life (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Shark Tank (ABC)
  • United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell (CNN)
  • Voices of Fire (Netflix)

Outstanding Variety Show (Series or Special)

  • 8:46 (Netflix)
  • Black Is King (Disney+)
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion (HBO Max)
  • VERZUZ (APPLE TV)
  • Yvonne Orji: Momma I Made It! (HBO)

Outstanding Children’s Program

  • Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices (Netflix)
  • Craig of the Creek (Cartoon Network)
  • Family Reunion (Netflix)
  • Raven’s Home (Disney Channel)
  • We Are the Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Youth (Series, Special, Television Movie or Limited–Series)

  • Alex R. Hibbert – The Chi (Showtime)
  • Lexi Underwood – Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu)
  • Lyric Ross – This Is Us (NBC)
  • Marsai Martin – Black-ish (ABC)
  • Miles Brown – Black-ish (ABC)

Outstanding Host in a Talk or News/Information (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

  • Don Lemon – CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (CNN)
  • Jada Pinkett Smith – Red Table Talk (Facebook Watch)
  • Joy Reid – The Reidout (NBC)
  • LeBron James – The Shop: Uninterrupted (HBO)
  • Trevor Noah – The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central)

Outstanding Host in a Reality/Reality Competition, Game Show or Variety (Series or Special) – Individual or Ensemble

  • Alfonso Ribeiro – America’s Funniest Home Videos (ABC)
  • Iyanla Vanzant – Iyanla: Fix My Life (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Steve Harvey – Celebrity Family Feud (ABC)
  • W. Kamau Bell – United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell (CNN)
  • RuPaul – RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)

Outstanding Guest Performance – Comedy or Drama Series

  • Chris Rock – Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • Courtney B. Vance – Lovecraft Country (HBO)
  • Dave Chappelle – Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • Issa Rae – Saturday Night Live (NBC)
  • Loretta Devine – P-Valley (Starz)

Outstanding Animated Series

  • Big Mouth (Netflix)
  • Central Park (Apple TV+)
  • Doc McStuffins (Disney Junior)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (Netflix)
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks (CBS All Access)

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance (Television)

  • Aisha Tyler – Archer (FX)
  • Courtney B. Vance – Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story (PBS)
  • Dawnn Lewis – Star Trek: Lower Decks (CBS All Access)
  • Deon Cole – Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (Netflix)
  • Laya DeLeon Hayes – Doc McStuffins (Disney Junior)

Outstanding Short Form Series – Comedy or Drama

  • #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • CripTales (BBC America)
  • Lazor Wulf (Adult Swim)
  • Mapleworth Murders (Quibi)
  • Sincerely, Camille (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)

Outstanding Performance in a Short Form Series

  • Giancarlo Esposito – The Broken and the Bad (AMC.com )
  • J.B. Smoove – Mapleworth Murders (Quibi)
  • Jasmine Cephas Jones – #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • Laurence Fishburne – #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)
  • Stephan James – #FreeRayshawn (Quibi)

Outstanding Short Form Series – Reality/Nonfiction

  • American Masters – Unladylike2020 (PBS)
  • Benedict Men (Quibi)
  • Between The Scenes – The Daily Show (Comedy Central)
  • In The Making (PBS)
  • Inspire Change Series (NFL Network)

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Television)

  • Katori Hall – P-Valley (Starz)
  • Keith Knight – Woke (Hulu)
  • Ramy Youssef – Ramy (Hulu)
  • Raynelle Swilling – Cherish the Day (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Teri Schaffer – Cherish the Day (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)

RECORDING CATEGORIES

Outstanding New Artist

  • Chika – High Rises (Warner Records)
  • Doja Cat – Say So (RCA Records/Kemosabe )
  • D Smoke – Black Habits (WoodWorks Records / EMPIRE)
  • Giveon – When It’s All Said And Done (Epic Records)
  • Skip Marley – Higher Place (Island Records/ Tuff Gong Records)

Outstanding Male Artist

  • Big Sean – Detroit 2 (Def Jam Recordings/G.O.O.D Music)
  • Black Thought – Streams of Thought, Vol. 3: Cane & Able (Republic Records)
  • Charlie Wilson – All of My Love (P Music Group/BMG)
  • Drake – Laugh Now, Cry Later (Republic Records)
  • John Legend – Bigger Love (Columbia Records)

Outstanding Female Artist

  • Beyoncé – Black Parade (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • H.E.R. – I Can’t Breathe (RCA Records/MBK Entertainment)
  • Jazmine Sullivan – Lost One (RCA Records)
  • Ledisi – Anything For You (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)
  • Alicia Keys – Alicia (RCA Records)

Outstanding Music Video/Visual Album

  • I Can’t Breathe – H.E.R. (RCA Records/MBK Entertainment)
  • Anything For You – Ledisi (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)
  • Black is King – Beyoncé (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • Brown Skin Girl – Beyoncé feat. WizKid, SAINt JHN, Blu Ivy Carter (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • Do It – Chloe x Halle (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)

Outstanding Album

  • Alicia – Alicia Keys (RCA Records)
  • b7 – Brandy (Brand Nu/eOne)
  • Bigger Love – John Legend (Columbia Records)
  • Chilombo – Jhené Aiko (Def Jam Recordings)
  • The Wild Card – LEDISI (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)

Outstanding Soundtrack/Compilation Album

  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Music from the Netflix Film) – Branford Marsalis (Milan)
  • Insecure: Music from the HBO Original Series – Various Artists (Atlantic Records)
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey – Various Artists (Atlantic Records )
  • Soul Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste and Tom MacDougall (Walt Disney Records)
  • The First Ladies of Gospel: The Clark Sisters Biopic Soundtrack – Donald Lawrence (Relevé Entertainment)

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album

  • Chosen Vessel – Marvin Sapp (RCA Inspiration)
  • Gospel According to PJ – PJ Morton (Morton Inspiration / Tyscot Records)
  • I Am – Koryn Hawthorne (RCA Inspiration)
  • Kierra – Kierra Sheard (Karew/RCA Inspiration)
  • The Return – The Clark Sisters (Karew/Motown)

Outstanding Gospel/Christian Song

  • All in His Plan – PJ Morton (Morton Inspiration / Tyscot Records)
  • Never Lost – CeCe Winans (Pure Springs Gospel)
  • Something Has To Break – Kierra Sheard feat. Tasha Cobbs-Leonard (Karew/RCA Inspiration)
  • Strong God – Kirk Franklin (Fo Yo Soul/RCA Records)
  • Touch from You – Tamela Mann (TillyMann Inc.)

Outstanding Jazz Album – Instrumental

  • Be Water – Christian Sands (Mack Avenue Music Group)
  • Music From and Inspired By Soul – Jon Batiste (Walt Disney Records)
  • Omega – Immanuel Wilkins (Blue Note Records)
  • Reciprocity – George Burton (Inner Circle Music)
  • The Iconoclast – Barry Stephenson (Independent)

Outstanding Jazz Album – Vocal

  • Donny Duke and Wonder – Nathan Mitchell (ENM Music Group)
  • Holy Room – Live at Alte Oper – Somi (Salon Africana)
  • Pulling Off The Covers – Mike Phillips (Sono Recording Group)
  • Stronger – Jeff Bradshaw (Bone Deep Enterprises)
  • The Eddy (From The Netflix Original Series) – The Eddy (Arista Records)

Outstanding Soul/R&B Song

  • I Can’t Breathe – H.E.R. (RCA Records/MBK Entertainment)
  • Anything For You – LEDISI (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)
  • B.S. feat. H.E.R – Jhené Aiko (Def Jam Recordings)
  • Black Parade – Beyoncé (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • Do It – Chloe x Halle (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)

Outstanding Hip Hop/Rap Song

  • Deep Reverence feat. Nipsey Hussle – Big Sean (Brand Nu/eOne)
  • Savage Remix – Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé (300 Entertainment / 1501 Certified Ent. LLC)
  • Cool Off – Missy Elliott (Atlantic Records)
  • Laugh Now, Cry Later – Drake (Republic Records)
  • Life Is Good – Future & Drake (Epic Records)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Traditional)

  • Alicia Keys feat. Jill Scott – Jill Scott (RCA Records)
  • Chloe x Halle – Wonder What She Thinks Of Me (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis feat. Babyface – He Don’t Know Nothin’ Bout It (BMG)
  • Kem feat. Toni Braxton – Live Out Your Love (Motown Records)
  • Ledisi and PJ Morton – Anything For You (Listen Back Entertainment/BMG)

Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (Contemporary)

  • Alicia Keys feat. Khalid – So Done (RCA Records)
  • Big Sean feat. Nipsey Hussle – Deep Reverence (Def Jam Recordings/G.O.O.D Music)
  • Chloe x Halle – Do It (Columbia Record/ Parkwood)
  • Jhené Aiko feat. H.E.R. – B.S. (Def Jam Recordings)
  • Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé – Savage Remix (300 Entertainment / 1501 Certified Ent. LLC)

Outstanding International Song

  • Blessed – Buju Banton (Roc Nation Records)
  • Lockdown – Original Koffee (Promise Land Recordings)
  • Pressure (Remix) – Original Koffee feat. Buju Banton (Promise Land Recordings)
  • Tanana – Davido feat. Tiwa Savage (RCA Records/Sony Music U.K./Davido Worldwide Entertainment)
  • Temptation – Tiwa Savage (Motown Records)

Outstanding Producer of the Year

  • Donald Lawrence
  • Hit-Boy
  • Jathan Wilson
  • Sean Keys
  • TM88

MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES

Outstanding Motion Picture

  • Bad Boys For Life (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment)
  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • One Night In Miami… (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Anthony Mackie – The Banker (Apple)
  • Chadwick Boseman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Forest Whitaker – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Will Smith – Bad Boys For Life (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Issa Rae – The Photograph (Universal Pictures)
  • Janelle Monáe – Antebellum (Lionsgate)
  • Madalen Mills – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Tracee Ellis Ross – The High Note (Focus Features)
  • Viola Davis – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Aldis Hodge – One Night In Miami… (Amazon Studios)
  • Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Clarke Peters – Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Colman Domingo – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Glynn Turman – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  • Anika Noni Rose – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Gabourey Sidibe – Antebellum (Lionsgate)
  • Nia Long – The Banker (Apple)
  • Phylicia Rashad – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Taylour Paige – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

  • Emperor (Universal Home Video)
  • Farewell Amor (IFC Films)
  • Miss Juneteenth (Vertical Entertainment)
  • The 24th (Vertical Entertainment)
  • The Banker (Apple)

Outstanding International Motion Picture

  • Ainu Mosir (ARRAY)
  • His House (Netflix)
  • Night of the Kings (Neon)
  • The Last Tree (ArtMattan Productions)
  • The Life Ahead (La vita davanti a se) (Netflix)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture

  • Dayo Okeniyi – Emperor (Universal Home Video)
  • Dominique Fishback – Project Power (Netflix)
  • Jahi Di’Allo Winston – Charm City Kings (HBO Max)
  • Jahzir Bruno – The Witches (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Madalen Mills – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture

  • Da 5 Bloods (Netflix)
  • Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • The Banker (Apple)

Outstanding Animated Motion Picture

  • Onward (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Over the Moon (Netflix)
  • Scoob! (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Trolls World Tour (Universal Pictures)

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Motion Picture

  • Ahmir-Khalib Thompson aka Questlove – Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Angela Bassett – Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Chris Rock – The Witches (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Jamie Foxx – Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Phylicia Rashad – Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Outstanding Short Form. (Live Action)

  • Baldwin Beauty (Powderkeg Media)
  • Black Boy Joy (Film Independent Project Involve )
  • Gets Good Light
  • Home
  • Mr. & Mrs. Ellis (AMB Productions)

Outstanding Short Form (Animated)

  • Canvas (Netflix)
  • Cops and Robbers (Netflix)
  • Loop (Pixar Animation Studios)
  • The Power of Hope (The Power Of Hope)
  • Windup (Unity Technologies)

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture)

  • Loira Limbal – Through the Night (Third Shift Media, Inc.)
  • Melissa Haizlip – Mr. Soul! (Shoes In The Bed Productions)
  • Nadia Hallgren – Becoming (A Higher Ground Productions and Big Mouth Productions Film for Netflix)
  • Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
  • Remi Weekes – His House (Netflix)

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORIES

Outstanding Documentary (Film)

  • All In: The Fight For Democracy (Amazon Studios)
  • Coded Bias (7th Empire Media)
  • John Lewis: Good Trouble (Magnolia Pictures/Participant)
  • Mr. Soul! (Shoes in the Bed Productions)
  • On the Record (HBO Max)

Outstanding Documentary (Television)

  • And She Could Be Next (PBS)
  • Black Love (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
  • Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (EPIX)
  • The Last Dance (ESPN / Netflix)
  • Unsung (TV One)

WRITING CATEGORIES

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

  • Issa Rae – Insecure – “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself” (HBO)
  • Lee Eisenberg, Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon – Little America – “The Rock” (Apple TV+)
  • Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You – “Ego Death” (HBO)
  • Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher – Never Have I Ever “Pilot” (Netflix)
  • Rajiv Joseph – Little America – “The Manager” (Apple TV+)

Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series

  • Attica Locke – Little Fires Everywhere – “The Spider Web” (Hulu)
  • Erika L. Johnson, Mark Richard – The Good Lord Bird – “A Wicked Plot” (Showtime)
  • Jessica Lamour – Little Voice – “Love Hurts” (Apple TV+)
  • Katori Hall – P-Valley – “Perpetratin'” (Starz)
  • Tanya Barfield – Mrs. America – “Shirley” (FX)

Outstanding Writing in a Television Movie or Special

  • Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin, D. Rodney Carter, Emily Goldwyn, Rob Haze, Zuri Salahuddin, Bennett Webber, Evan Williams, Will Miles – Sherman’s Showcase Black History Month Spectacular (IFC)
  • Eugene Ashe – Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)
  • Geri Cole – The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special (HBO Max)
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton (Disney+)
  • Sylvia L. Jones, Camille Tucker – The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture

  • David E. Talbert – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • Kemp Powers – One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)
  • Lee Isaac Chung – Minari (A24)
  • Pete Docter, Kemp Powers, Mike Jones – Soul (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)

Outstanding Writing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture)

  • Mary Mazzio – A Most Beautiful Thing (Peacock)
  • Melissa Haizlip – Mr. Soul! (Maysles Documentary Center)
  • Nile Cone – The Beat Don’t Stop (TV One)
  • Royal Kennedy Rodgers – Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story (PBS)
  • Yoruba Richen, Elia Gasull Balada, Valerie Thomas – The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show (Peacock)

DIRECTING CATEGORIES

Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series

  • Anya Adams – Black-ish – “Hair Day” (ABC)
  • Aurora Guerrero – Little America – “The Jaguar” (Apple TV+)
  • Eric Dean Seaton – Black-ish – “Our Wedding Dre” (ABC)
  • Kabir Akhtar – Never Have I Ever – “… started a nuclear war” (Netflix)
  • Sam Miller, Michaela Coel – I May Destroy You – “Ego Death” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series

  • Cheryl Dunye – Lovecraft Country – “Strange Case” (HBO)
  • Hanelle Culpepper – Star Trek: Picard – “Remembrance” (CBS All Access)
  • Misha Green – Lovecraft Country – “Jig-a-Bobo” (HBO)
  • Nzingha Stewart – Little Fires Everywhere – “The Uncanny” (Hulu)
  • Steve McQueen – Small Axe – “Mangrove” (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Directing in a Television Movie or Special

  • Beyoncé Knowles Carter, Emmanuel Adeji, Blitz Bazawule, Kwasi Fordjour – Black Is King (Disney+)
  • Christine Swanson – The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel (Lifetime)
  • Chuck Vinson, Alan Muraoka – The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special (HBO Max)
  • Eugene Ashe – Sylvie’s Love (Amazon Studios)
  • Kamilah Forbes – Between The World And Me (HBO)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture

  • David E. Talbert – Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)
  • George C. Wolfe – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood – The Old Guard (Netflix)
  • Radha Blank – The Forty-Year-Old Version (Netflix)
  • Regina King – One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)

Outstanding Directing in a Documentary (Television or Motion Picture)

  • Keith McQuirter – By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem (EPIX)
  • Muta’Ali – Yusuf Hawkins: Storm Over Brooklyn (HBO)
  • Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff – Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (Ep. 1 & 2) (HBO)
  • Simcha Jacobovici – Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (EPIX)
  • Yoruba Richen – The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show (Peacock)

LITERARY CATEGORIES

Outstanding Literary Work – Fiction 

  • Black Bottom Saints – Alice Randall (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Lakewood – Megan Giddings (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Riot Baby – Tochi Onyebuchi (TorDotCom Publishing, imprint of Tom Doherty Associates)
  • The Awkward Black Man – Walter Mosley (Grove Atlantic)
  • The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett (Riverhead Books)

Outstanding Literary Work – Nonfiction

  • A Black Women’s History of the United States – Daina Berry (Beacon Press)
  • A Promised Land – Barack Obama (Crown)
  • Driving While Black – Gretchen Sorin (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America – Michael Eric Dyson (St. Martin’s Press)
  • We’re Better Than This – Elijah Cummings (HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Debut Author 

  • A Knock at Midnight – Brittany Barnett (Penguin Random House)
  • Greyboy: Finding Blackness in a White World – Cole Brown (Skyhorse)
  • Lakewood – Megan Giddings (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Compton Cowboys – Walter Thompson-Hernandez (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • We’re Better Than This – Elijah Cummings (HarperCollins Publishers)

Outstanding Literary Work – Biography/Autobiography 

  • A Most Beautiful Thing: The True Story of America’s First All-Black High School Rowing Team – Arshay Cooper (Macmillan)
  • A Promised Land – Barack Obama (Crown)
  • Olympic Pride, American Prejudice – Deborah Draper (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Dead Are Arising – Les Payne, Tamara Payne (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • Willie: The Game-Changing Story of the NHL’s First Black Player – Willie O’Ree (Penguin Canada)

Outstanding Literary Work – Instructional

  • Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Space – Valerie Harrison (Temple University Press)
  • Living Lively – Haile Thomas (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • The Black Foster Youth Handbook – Ángela Quijada-Banks (Soulful Liberation)
  • The Woman God Created You to Be: Finding Success Through Faith–Spiritually, Personally, and Professionally – Kimberla Lawson Roby (Lenox Press)
  • Vegetable Kingdom – Bryant Terry (Penguin Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work – Poetry 

  • Homie – Danez Smith (Graywolf Press)
  • Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry – John Murillo (Four Way Books)
  • Seeing the Body – Rachel Eliza Griffiths (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • The Age of Phillis – Honorée Jeffers (Wesleyan University Press)
  • Un-American – Hafizah Geter (Wesleyan University Press)

Outstanding Literary Work – Children

  • I Promise – LeBron James, Nina Mata (HarperCollins)
  • Just Like a Mama – Alice Faye Duncan, Charnelle Pinkney Barlow (Simon & Schuster)
  • Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice – Nikki Grimes, Laura Freeman (Simon & Schuster)
  • She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm – Katheryn Russell-Brown, Eric Velasquez (Lee & Low Books)
  • The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver – Gene Barretta, Frank Morrison (HarperCollins)

Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens 

  • Before the Ever After – Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin Random House)
  • Black Brother, Black Brother – Jewell Parker Rhodes (Hachette Book Group)
  • Dear Justyce – Nic Stone (Crown Books for Young Readers)
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning – Jason Reynolds (Hachette Book Group)
  • This is Your Time – Ruby Bridges (Delacorte Books for Young Readers)

NAACP

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2 million activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP. NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights. 

About BET

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.

Review: ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman

January 1, 2021

by Carla Hay

Chadwick Boseman, Dusan Brown, Colman Domingo, Michael Potts, Viola Davis  and Glynn Turman in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Directed by George C. Wolfe

Culture Representation: Taking place in 1927, in Chicago and briefly in Barnesville, Georgia, the dramatic film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” features a predominantly African American cast of characters (with some white people) representing the middle-class and working-class.

Culture Clash: A tough-talking blues diva and her rebellious cornet player have conflicts and power struggles with each other, while they both have constant battles with white racism and the emotional scars that this bigotry has left on them.

Culture Audience: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” will appeal primarily to August Wilson fans and people interested in well-acted movies about African American experiences.

Glynn Turman, Chadwick Boseman, Michael Potts, and Colman Domingo as Cutler in “May Rainey’s Black Bottom” (Photo by David Lee/Netflix)

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” triumphs as one of the rare movies adapted from a celebrated play that can actually claim to be better than the play, thanks to powerhouse performances by Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. The movie version of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which is based on August Wilson’s play that debuted on Broadway in 1984, takes place mostly in a small recording studio, but the deep emotional impact and the breadth of social issues experienced and conveyed by the characters go beyond the confines of that studio. The story is set in 1927, but the story’s themes are universal and timeless.

Directed by George C. Wolfe with a screenplay written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” begins in Barnesville, Georgia, where blues singer Ma Rainey (played by Davis) is giving a foot-stomping, rousing performance to an enthralled audience in a tent. She’s sweating profusely, as she does in every scene in the movie, and caught up in the rapture of giving a raw and passionate performance for the adoring crowd.

When she’s off stage, Ma isn’t the fun-loving, “good time gal” that she might appear to be when she’s on stage. Ma is a middle-aged diva who’s feeling the pressure of being considered a “has-been” as her former protégée Bessie Smith is almost certain to surpass Ma in popularity. It’s an ageism problem faced by many entertainers, especially women, who are at the mercy of fickle audiences and industry people who might end up moving on to someone who’s considered younger, more contemporary and more attractive.

Ma has earned the nickname the Mother of the Blues, and she’s not about to give up her reign at the top that easily. She uses her clout and her unique talent as reasons to do and say what she wants, including showing up late, berating her employees, and making people kowtow to her sometimes-unreasonable demands. It’s clear that Ma’s way of asserting her power is to counterbalance the humiliation and pain of racism that she experiences as a black woman in America, where white supremacy was legal in the form of racial segregation and other Jim Crow laws.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” references the Great Migration, a period of time (1916 to 1970) in U.S. history where millions of black people relocated from the states in the South to states in other parts of America. These areas outside of the South were often viewed as presenting better opportunities for people of color, but these areas certainly were not immune to racism. When Ma travels to Chicago for the one-day recording session that’s the majority of this story, it represents her own personal parallel to the Great Migration.

Where Ma goes, drama usually isn’t far behind. Upon arriving in Chicago during a sweltering summer, she gets into a dispute on the street when she’s accused of pushing down a white man. A cop (played by Joshua Harto) who’s called to the scene is inclined to arrest her, but Ma uses her clout, loud voice and her “take no crap” attitude to get the cop to back off.

Ma, who lives openly as a lesbian (as did the real-life Ma Rainey), is traveling by car to the recording studio. Accompanying her are her much-younger lover Dussie Mae (played by Taylour Paige) and Ma’s teenage nephew Sylvester (played by Dussan Brown). As gruff as Ma is to most people in her life, she shows tremendous loyalty to the few people who are closest to her, especially Sylvester.

Dussie Mae is an attractive young woman whose relationship with Ma is fairly new and is more like a “trophy girlfriend” than a soul mate to Ma. Throughout the movie, it’s implied that Dussie Mae is somewhat of a gold digger. Dussie Mae goes through life using her looks and sex appeal to get people to financially support her—not because she’s mean-spirited but because she’s too unsophisticated to doing anything else with her life.

Ma, as usual, is running late on her way to the studio, where she is scheduled to record the song “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” When Ma and her two-person entourage (Dussie Mae and Sylvester) finally get there, Ma takes charge and sometimes gets into subtle and not-so-subtle power struggles with the men who’ve been waiting for her at the studio. These power struggles have many different layers that exemplify issues of gender roles and racial discrimination.

The six men in the recording studio who experience Ma’s mercurial range of emotions during this challenging day are:

  • Levee (played by Boseman), the charismatic, foul-mouthed cornet player who’s the newest and most arrogant member of Ma’s band.
  • Cutler (played by Colman Domingo), the band’s trombone player who is very loyal to Ma and considers himself to be the most experienced and skilled in dealing with her mood swings.
  • Toledo (played by Glynn Turman), the band’s pianist who is the most likely to be the jokester in the group.
  • Slow Drag (played by Michael Potts), the band’s bass player who is the quietest and most laid-back member of the group.
  • Irvin (played by Jeremy Shamos), Ma’s longtime manager who often has to be a peacemaker when she decides on a whim to throw situations into chaos.
  • Sturdyvant (played by Jonny Coyne), the manager of the recording studio who grows increasingly impatient with Ma’s diva antics.

In the scenes in the recording studio, Irvin and Sturdyvant (who are white) are often together in a booth that overlooks the recording room where they can watch through a glass window what’s happening down below with the Ma and the rest of her African American colleagues. Irvin and Sturdyvant usually leave the booth to go into the recording studio when there’s a problem that affects their time and money invested in this recording session. And there are several interruptions to the recording session for this reason.

The higher location of the booth and its separation from the main recording studio room are obvious metaphors of the spoken and unspoken racial barriers that exist between the people in this recording session, where racism is a festering wound that has impacted the characters on a personal and societal level. Ma and her colleagues are all too aware that even though Ma is the star in this room, she still has a subservient role to the white men who control the music industry. It’s a role that she expresses with a lot of emotional pain, bitterness and defiance throughout the story.

At one point in the story Ma says with heavy resentment: “They don’t care care nothin’ about me. All they care about is my voice.” She adds, “If you colored and you can make them some money, then you all right with them. Otherwise, you just a dog in the alley.” And later in the story, Ma reveals that even though Irvin has been her manager for the past six years, the only time he invited her to his home was so she could perform for his “white friends.”

There are also issues over gender roles that permeate the story. When Ma arrives at the recording studio, she finds out that all the men who’ve been waiting for her have already decided that she will record a new, more upbeat version of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” with the arrangement written by Levee. Ma refuses and declares that she is going to record the original version of the song. She also insists that her nephew Sylvester is going to do a short spoken intro to the song, even though he’s a stutterer.

Ma literally and figurately throws her weight around as she has diva tantrum after diva tantrum. At one point, she shouts: “I make more money for this outfit than anyone put together!” And when she finds out that the Coca-Cola that she requested in advance isn’t in the studio, she refuses to start recording until she gets her Coca-Cola.

All of the members of her band are very compliant except for Levee, who constantly challenges Ma’s decisions and tries to assert himself as a visionary musician whom Ma needs if she wants to get more respect for her music. Early on in the story, Tyree tells Cutler: “I ain’t like you, Cutler. I’ve got talent. I know how to play real music, not none of this jug band shit.”

Levee shows flashes of vanity (he brags about his shiny yellow shoes and is aware of how good-looking he is) and hubris (he thinks all of his ideas should be immediately accepted), but underneath that cockiness is someone who’s got deep-seated emotional pain and trauma. During the long stretches of time that the musicians in the band are waiting for Ma, Levee slowly opens up about his past and reveals secrets that explain why he acts the way that he does.

At one point, Levee is teased by the other members of the band when they see Levee acting in a very deferential way to Irvin and Sturdyvant. The band mates try to make Levee feel like he’s an “Uncle Tom,” which triggers Levee into losing his temper and then revealing a defining incident from his past that permanently changed his outlook on life. He tells this story in a harrowing monologue that’s one of the best scenes in the film.

Ma and Levee’s clashes with each other aren’t just about music. An observant Ma notices that Levee has been looking at Dussie Mae in a way that makes it obvious that he’s attracted to her. Dussie Mae flirts back when Ma isn’t around. And it doesn’t take long for Levee to ramp up his sexual advances toward Dussie Mae, even though the other band members warn Levee that Dussie Mae is “Ma’s girl.”

Levee’s disagreements with Ma over her musical direction, as well as Levee not even trying to hide that he’s interested in making moves on Ma’s lover, put him in a precarious situation where he might or might not be fired from the band. As time goes on during the day and Ma goes back and forth about whether or not she’ll complete the recording, Levee is going through his own insecurities and turmoil. At times, he also clashes with Cutler, especially when it’s revealed how Levee feels about God and religious beliefs.

Under the assured direction of Wolfe, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” not only has a top-notch cast but the movie also excels in costume design, production design and music. The stage/play version of the story takes place in the winter, but the filmmakers made the astute decision to change the season to summer during an oppressive heat wave. It gives the movie more of a “pressure cooker” look and tone that’s an accurate reflection of the simmering tensions that permeate throughout the entire story.

Davis and Boseman give award-worthy performances in this movie that goes beyond personality conflicts and ego posturing. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” (which was Boseman’s last movie; he died of colon cancer in August 2020) is also a story of the shared trauma of racism and how even the strongest of souls are tested by this insidious societal cancer. Viewers who are sensitive about hearing racially derogatory names should be warned that the “n” word is said many times in this movie, usually when uttered by Levee.

Even though the movie is called “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the character of Ma has a lot less screen time than Levee does. If Ma is the heart of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” then Levee is the soul. Levee and Boseman’s heartbreaking performance represent anyone who has survived trauma inflicted by other people but struggles with the damage that can be inflicted by self-destruction.

Netflix released “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in select U.S. cinemas on November 25, 2020. The movie premiered on Netflix on December 18, 2020.

Chadwick Boseman dead at 43; acclaimed star of ‘Black Panther’ battled colon cancer

August 28, 2020

by Carla Hay

Chadwick Boseman (Photo courtesy of ABC/Image Group LA) 

Chadwick Boseman, the charismatic and critically acclaimed actor who starred in the 2018 blockbuster “Black Panther,” died of colon cancer at his Los Angeles home on August 28, 2020. He was 43. In a public statement issued by his family, Boseman had been diagnosed with cancer in 2016, but he never revealed this diagnosis to the public, according to the Associated Press.

In addition to starring in “Black Panther,” Boseman had roles in other Marvel superhero movies such as 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame.” He also starred as several African American icons in biopics, such as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the 2013 movie “42,” singer James Brown in 2014’s “Get on Up” and Thurgood Marshall in 2017’s “Marshall.” He also starred in the cop drama “21 Bridges,” which was his first movie in which he was a producer. Boseman’s last two film roles were for Netflix: He portrayed a Vietnam War soldier in the 2020 drama “Da 5 Bloods” (directed and co-written by Spike Lee) and co-starred with Viola Davis in the drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” which does not have a release date yet.

Born on November 29, 1976, in Anderson, South Carolina, Boseman graduated from Howard University in 2000, with a bachelor of fine arts degree in directing. Two important mentors he had during his college years were Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington (who reportedly paid for Boseman’s college tuition) and actress Phylicia Rashad, who was one of his teachers at Howard. Boseman was also a graduate of Digital Film Academy and aspired to be a director.

Boseman made his film debut in 2008’s “The Express.” Before getting starring roles movies, he had roles in TV shows and in theater, most notably in the 2010 short-lived NBC series “Persons Unknown” and in a recurring role in 2008 and 2009 in the ABC Family series “Lincoln Heights,” which was on the air from 2007 to 2010. But he was best known for playing African king superhero T’Challa in “Black Panther,” which was the second highest-grossing film of 2018 in the world (with $1.3 billion in ticket sales), second to “Avengers: Infinity War,” which had worldwide ticket sales of $2 billion. Of the $1.3 billion that “Black Panther” had in worldwide ticket sales, $700 million were ticket sales in the U.S., making “Black Panther” the highest-grossing film in the U.S. in 2018.

“Black Panther” won numerous awards, including three Oscars: for costume design, production design and original score. Boseman and the rest of “Black Panther” stars won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and the movie won several NAACP Image Awards. A sequel to “Black Panther” had been announced to be released in 2022, but had not begun filming at the time that Boseman passed away. As of now, it’s unclear what will happen to the movie because of Boseman’s death. Also in limbo is the movie “Yasuke,” in which Boseman had the title role, but the movie hadn’t begun filming at the time of his death.

The Boseman family statement says: “A true fighter, Chadwick persevered through it all, and brought you many of the films you have come to love so much. From ‘Marshall’ to ‘Da 5 Bloods,’ August Wilson’s ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ and several more—all were filmed during and between countless surgeries and chemotherapy. It was the honor of his career to bring King T’Challa to life in ‘Black Panther.’”

Boseman is survived by his wife Taylor Simone Ledward and his parents Leroy and Karen Boseman.

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