Viola Davis paid tribute to her late Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom co-star Chadwick Boseman as she arrived on the red carpet at the Oscars.
The Black Panther actor died in August last year aged 43 following a private four-year battle with colon cancer and is tipped to win a posthumous best actor prize for his performance as an ambitious trumpeter.
Davis, who is nominated for the best actress prize for playing jazz singer Ma Rainey, said Boseman was “authenticity on steroids”.
She told E!: “This human being, this artist did not mistake his presence for the event, he just wanted to be an artist.”
Davis said being at the Oscars was “an exclamation point on an already incredible experience”, adding: “It could not have been a better experience and now it’s just continuing.”
The ceremony will finally go ahead after a two-month delay and a tough year for the film industry, with cinemas around the world closed for months on end and productions disrupted.
Road movie Nomadland, about nomadic community in the US, is frontrunner to take the best picture prize, while filmmaker Chloe Zhao could be the second woman in history to win best director.
She told E: “I feel like sometimes filmmaking can be a quite lonely and transient existence and having been with a lot of nomads, who also live a transient life, there is also a great sense of community and I tried to see things the same way.”
Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan, Pieces Of A Woman actress Vanessa Kirby and The Father’s Olivia Colman are all nominated for prizes at the ceremony.
The Father’s Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sound Of Metal’s Riz Ahmed, Mank’s Gary Oldman, Judas And The Black Messiah’s Daniel Kaluuya and The Trial Of The Chicago 7’s Sacha Baron Cohen are also in the running.
The main ceremony is taking place at Union Station in Los Angeles, with some nominees joining the ceremony remotely from international hubs.
Appearing via Zoom will not be allowed.
There will be no host, but there will be a star-studded array of presenters.