Chadwick Boseman soars into Best Actor Oscar top 2 after ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ screenings

Anthony Hopkins has sat comfortably in the top spot of our Best Actor Oscar odds all season for “The Father,” but there is now someone hot on his tail. Chadwick Boseman has risen to second place for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and may overtake him very soon.

Currently, Hopkins is still ahead at 4/1 odds to Boseman’s 9/2. Both have eight Experts in their corners, but the latter has the edge with our Editors (six to three) and our top 24 users (10 to nine).

After Netflix confirmed last month that Boseman will be campaigned in lead, the late star climbed from eighth to fourth place in our odds. He started his ascent to second after “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” the film adaptation of August Wilson‘s play, screened for press on Nov. 14 to rapturous praise for Boseman’s monologue-heavy turn as hotheaded trumpeter Levee in blues legend Ma Rainey’s (Viola Davis) band. Since then, he’s knocked down his fellow Netflix contenders Gary Oldman (“Mank”), who’s now in third, and his “Da 5 Bloods” co-star Delroy Lindo, now in fourth. “One Night in Miami” star Kingsley Ben-Adir rounds out the top five.

SEE ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ stars remember Chadwick Boseman: ‘He was a mighty king’

If he makes the cut, Boseman, who died at 43 in August after a previously undisclosed four-year battle with colon cancer, will be the fifth person to earn a posthumous Best Actor nomination. James Dean received two for “East of Eden” (1955) and “Giant” (1956), followed by Spencer Tracy (1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”), Peter Finch (1976’s “Network”) and Massimo Troisi (1995’s “Il Postino”). Finch was the only one to win, becoming the first of two people to claim a posthumous acting Oscar, the other being Heath Ledger for his supporting turn in “The Dark Knight” (2008).

Boseman has never been Oscar-nominated, but he could get two bids this year: He contends in supporting for “Da 5 Bloods” and is currently in ninth place there. No one has earned two posthumous acting nominations in the same year.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” premieres on Netflix on Friday, Dec. 18.

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