Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is a 2020 American drama film directed by George C. Wolfe and written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, based on the 1982 play of the same name by August Wilson. The film stars Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman, Colman Domingo, and Michael Potts. Inspired by the career of Ma Rainey, an influential blues singer and the title character, the film dramatizes a turbulent recording session in 1920s Chicago.
Produced by Denzel Washington, Todd Black, and Dany Wolf, the project was originally announced alongside Washington's Fences in 2013 as part of his ten-picture deal with HBO. The adaptation eventually moved to Netflix, and filming began in Pittsburgh in 2019. Boseman died during post-production in August 2020, making Black Bottom his final film appearance; the film is dedicated to his memory.
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom began a limited theatrical release on November 25, 2020, before beginning to stream on Netflix on December 18. The film received universal acclaim. Critics lauded the performances of Davis, Boseman, and Turman as well as the costume design and production values. It was named as one of the ten best films of 2020 by the American Film Institute. The film received five nominations at the 93rd Academy Awards, including Best Actor (for Boseman), Best Actress (for Davis), and won two awards: Makeup and Hairstyling and Costume Design. Additionally, the film received eight Critics' Choice Movie Award nominations and nine NAACP Image Award nominations, including Outstanding Motion Picture, with Davis and Boseman both winning lead acting awards. Davis and Boseman also won lead acting awards for their performances at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, making history as the first Black actors to win in leading categories in the same year; both received nominations at the Golden Globes, with Boseman posthumously winning Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.