Praise is stupendous for George C. Wolfe’s August Wilson adaptation, with Boseman and Davis now shoo-ins for acting honors next year.
The wait is over, and first reactions to Netflix’s upcoming awards season juggernaut “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” are finally here. And they’re major, with showers of acclaim for Oscar shoo-ins Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman. Directed by George C. Wolfe and adapted from the beloved play by August Wilson, the drama debuted on Saturday, November 14 as part of a sneak-peek virtual premiere in partnership with the American Film Institute. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” is set to launch on Netflix everywhere December 18.
In “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” tensions and temperatures escalate throughout the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago. A band of musicians await the arrival of one trailblazing performer, the Mother of the Blues, Ma Rainey. She’s played by Viola Davis, the Oscar winner for Best Supporting Actress for another August Wilson adaptation, director Denzel Washington’s “Fences.” (Washington is also a producer on “Ma Rainey’s.”) Late to the session, Ma Rainey stirs up ado with her white manager and producer over the control of her music. Meanwhile, the band waits in a claustrophobic rehearsal room, where trumpeter Levee (Boseman), with ambitions of his own, spurs his fellow musicians into revealing truths that will change all their lives.
The movie has buzz for Boseman’s posthumous (and final) performance. Netflix is planning to campaign Boseman in the Lead Actor category at the Oscars, with his turn in Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” (also for Netflix) vying for Supporting Actor.
The cast of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” also includes Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts.
Check out a roundup of first reactions from Twitter below.
August Wilson rookie George C. Wolfe’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom will clean up at the Oscars. It’s timely in the way it shows how anger can simmer and explode. Actors will love Viola Davis as the blues singer and Chadwick Boseman as her trumpeter: he could win a posthumous Oscar.
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) November 15, 2020
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM is a dynamic adaptation of August Wilson’s play with vibrant cinematography, music & costumes. Chadwick Boseman’s swan-song is his best with two stunning monologues that rank among some of the best ever. Viola Davis dominates the screen & all in her path. pic.twitter.com/P1iexrxQtT
— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) November 15, 2020
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is a scorcher. Chadwick Boseman is a class act and his delivery of August Wilson’s monologues are impeccable. I miss him. Viola Davis is magnificent, commanding the screen with every word. I’m in awe of Tobias Schliessler’s cinematography. pic.twitter.com/XaR4mUWeyR
— Jazz Tangcay (@jazzt) November 15, 2020
‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ gives us an outstanding turn from Viola Davis but it’s Chadwick Boseman that leaves it all out on floor in a stellar, Sidney Poitier-level, Oscar-worthy performance. Colman Domingo gives excellent support and…