With his Best Actor Oscar nomination for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Chadwick Boseman is the first actor posthumously nominated for an Academy Award since Heath Ledger.
Ledger was nominated and won Best Supporting Actor at the 2009 ceremony for “The Dark Knight.” It’s widely anticipated Boseman will also win an Oscar at the 93rd annual Academy Awards in April for his “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” performance.
SEE 2021 Oscars nominations full list
Throughout Oscars history, there have been multiple people nominated for an Academy Award after their death. Before Boseman, the most recent posthumous nominee was “Fences” playwright August Wilson, who received a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2017 ceremony. Before Wilson, Walt Martin received a nomination for Best Sound Mixing for “American Sniper” at the 2015 ceremony.
The last posthumous Oscar winner was producer Gil Friesen, who won Best Documentary at the 2013 ceremony for “20 Feet From Stardom.”
Boseman almost made history as the first double posthumous nominee in 25 years — he was also a contender all season for his supporting performance in “Da 5 Bloods.” The last time that occurred was at the 1996 Academy Awards ceremony, when “Il Postino” star and writer Massimo Troisi received two nominations for Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay. Before Troisi, the late songwriter Howard Ashman was a three-time nominee at the 1992 ceremony for his iconic work on “Beauty and the Beast.”
Other posthumous nominees with multiple nominations in the same year include Robert Alan Aurthur (nominated twice at the 1980 ceremony for “All That Jazz”), Harry W. Tetrick (a nominee at the 1977 ceremony in the Best Sound category for “Rocky” and “King Kong”), Bernard Herrmann (a nominee at the 1977 ceremony in the Best Score category for “Taxi Driver” and “Obsession”), William A. Horning (a double nominee at the 1960 ceremony in Best Art Direction for “North by Northwest” and “Ben-Hur”), Victor Young (nominated at the 1957 ceremony for Best Song for “Written on the Wind” and Best Score for “Around the World in 80 Days”), Gile Steele (a double nominee at the 1952 ceremony for Best Costume Design for “Kind Lady” and “The Great Caruso”), Jerome Kern (two nominations at the 1946 ceremony for Best Song and Best Score from “Can’t Help Singing”), and Frank Churchill (nominated for Best Song and Best Score from “Bambi” at the 1943 ceremony). The only performer with multiple posthumous acting nominations is James Dean, who was nominated for Best Actor for “East of Eden” and “Giant,” respectively, at the 1956 and 1957 Oscar ceremonies.
Boseman died in August of last year from stage four colon cancer. The late “Black Panther” star has cruised through awards season, winning Best Actor at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards. He’s also nominated for Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards and BAFTA Awards.
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