An unusually high volume of posthumous Golden Globes nominations today. Aside from the much expected Best Actor nom for the late Chadwick Boseman For Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, there was also a nom for Jack Fincher, who received his first screen credit 17 years after his death. The nominated screenwriter is the father of David Fincher, who saw through his father’s vision and turned it into the Gary Oldman-starrer Mank for Netflix. Jack Fincher made his living as a journalist and essayist who published pieces in the Saturday Evening Review, The Smithsonian and other publications. After retiring, he turned to crafting a script about the behind the scenes on a movie he loved, Citizen Kane. He chose the evolution of Herman Mankiewicz from a tipsy intellectual script doctor to a man who found his courage in authorship on a movie that took on his benefactor, William Randolph Hearst. Jack Fincher could not get anyone to bite on his script while he was alive. His son, then regarded as a visionary helmer of commercials and videos, was just making his debut on Alien 3, a movie that disappointed. No studio wanted to make a movie designed to be in black and white, and when pitched amounted to a credit arbitration between Mankiewicz and Orson Welles. After he made the groundbreaking Netflix series House of Cards and Mindhunter, Fincher used the currency at Netflix to muscle through Mank and make it in black and white, exactly as Jack Fincher scripted it, a profound way to honor the memory of his father.
While he was celebrated for Ma Rainey, Boseman also got snubbed for his ethereal performance as Stormin’ Norman, the spiritual leader of a team of Black Vietnam vets in the Spike Lee-directed Da 5 Bloods. He is eligible for Best Supporting Actor on that film, which got entirely snubbed by the HFPA voters. The Academy might have the last word on that one.
The recent list of deceased talent honored for their work with Oscars is small. It includes composer Howard Ashman, honored posthumously for Beauty and the Beast in 1991, Walt Disney, Peter Finch for Network, Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, and more recently Gil Friesen, for producing the Oscar-winning documentary Twenty Feet From Stardom.
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