Every year, the day after the Oscars, I start writing an article about the prices of the following year. This year was no exception. Of the films I wanted to nominate, some were postponed until 2021 because of a certain virus, others won’t make it because they weren’t as good as I’d hoped, but only one hasn’t been released. And that was Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

The reason I chose Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is simple. This is Viola Davis. She is the first African-American actress to receive three Oscar nominations and three prizes: Oscar, Tony and Emmy. To me, she’s the black version of Meryl Streep. Both are great actresses; they even played together in Doubt, where I first became aware of them. And now Davis is definitely on his way to more nominations and prizes.

Of all the films I’ve seen this year (about three hundred), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the one with the most impressive debut. You see a dark forest and hear a series of strange noises: the chirping of crickets, the running of the path, the barking of dogs and heavy breathing. When you finally see two young men walking, they slowly approach the bright light. People are queuing up to see Ma Rainey’s performance. Two minutes later, Viola Davis charms you.

In the 1920s, the actress moved to Chicago. Ma Rainey’s band arrives at a shady music studio. Tensions with the white bosses immediately increase when it becomes clear that Ma herself is too late. The musicians are taken to a dilapidated hall where they have to rehearse. Instead, many fights start, especially with the youngest member of the band and the trumpeter, Levee. It soon becomes clear that the arrogant womanizer is just as ambitious; he wants to start his own band.

It took me a while to recognize Chadwick Bozeman as Damba. It is hard to believe that Black Panther and Norman Holloway (Da 5 Bloods) are played by the same actor. The difference between these three characters couldn’t be greater. He’s great in the whole film, but there’s a special moment in the film when we realize Boseman’s immense talent. When he talks about the racist attack on his parents, you can feel the pain and trauma he’s going through. It hurts even more to know that the music industry is run by whites. Will Levee ever be successful with his own band?

The tension is all the stronger when the character of Viola Davis – also known as Mother Blues – finally appears. She’s a diva, that’s for sure. It’s too hot in the studio, and she won’t do anything until she’s had three cold coke. Meanwhile, the band members keep arguing among themselves. Ma Rainey also meets her manager and the producers, who have their own ideas about how her songs should be recorded. Is she finally getting her music back under control? (By the way, if Ma Rainey isn’t fictional, then Bozeman’s character is).


It doesn’t take many words to describe Viola Davis’ performance. One thing! It’s phenomenal! She says. That’s how she sings. It’s the way she moves her body. And finally: That’s how she surrenders to the blues. I was intrigued by his performance in How to Get Away With Murder, but it’s a whole new level. To be honest, I was so impressed that I had to rewind some scenes. I didn’t understand what she said because I was so intrigued! I was almost desperate to see her nominated for an Oscar again.

But there is much more beautiful in this film. The cinematography is excellent, as is the set and costume design. Yeah, there were times when I even wanted to be dressed like Ma Rainey. But this film can do more than stimulate the senses. On Black Day, Ma Rainey intelligently, sometimes discreetly, tackles issues of racism. I already talked about the scene with Levi’s parents. But the plight of the Afro-Americans is also reflected in their music.

After all, the tagline of the film is All Out in the Blues. That’s what mommy’s manager and producer don’t understand. The blues is not a music genre like any other. It’s more than just a source of income. It reflects the soul of the Afro-Americans. Your values. Your beliefs. Your experience. The only thing the manager and the producer is interested in is having [Ma’s] voice in the box. They don’t care about the singer. There’s money in the account. This is of course the reason why Ma Rainey wants to sing the blues the way she wants to.

Directed by George C. Wolfe, the film is based on a play by August Wilson. Another recent adaptation of an August Wilson play is Fences, which was produced and directed by Denzel Washington and starring him. It is also the film that gave Viola Davis her first Oscar. By general consensus, this is the fourth time Mr. Davis has appeared here. And for Bosman, his first. But the question remains: for which film? Let’s not forget Blood 5!

Let’s be honest. The Oscar race has a new favorite. Let’s hope he gets what he deserves, with possible nominations for best performance, direction, cinematography, score and best song. Or how about this? Can Boseman be nominated for Best Actor in a Ma Rainey film and Best Supporting Actor in a Da 5 Bloods film? We’ll be operational by the 15th. Mars. As this is an unusual year, we’re still waiting for some interesting films to come out in full in the Oscar race. But something tells me my Rainey’s gonna win.

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