Making history at the Oscars, “Judas and the Black Messiah,” directed by Shaka King, got five nominations and Daniel Kaluuya won best supporting actor. “Judas and the Black Messiah,” dramatizes the life and death of Fred Hampton, the former chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party who was 21 years old when he was killed by Chicago police during a raid on his West Side apartment in 1969. The film follows Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya) and William O’Neal (played by LaKeith Stanfield), the man who infiltrated the political organization at the behest of the U.S. government.
Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya), Actor in a Supporting Role (LaKeith Stanfield), Original Screenplay and Cinematography
Daniel Kaluuya wins best supporting actor award
With five Oscar nominations, “Judas and the Black Messiah” has already scooped up a number of awards this season, including best supporting actor trophies at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Critics’ Choice Awards and British Academy Film Awards for star Daniel Kaluuya.
On Sunday, he won the Oscar for best supporting actor. This is Kaluuya’s second Oscar nomination, his first in 2018 for his performance in the race-based horror “Get Out.” To prepare for the role, Kaluuya said he studied the history of Chicago politics to understand how the Black Panther Party fit into that space.
“To Chairman Fred Hampton, what a man. How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime where he existed,” Kaluuya said, clutching his trophy. “He was on this Earth for 21 years and he found a way to feed kids breakfast, educate kids, get free medical care against all odds.”
The 32-year-old actor was cheered by his Ugandan mother, Damalie, and his sister, who sat socially distanced in seats away from the nominees at tables.
“I’d like to thank my mom,” Kaluuya said, as she teared up. “Thank you for pouring so much into me. You gave me everything. You gave me your factory settings so I could stand at my fullest height.” He was competing against co-star LaKeith Stanfield, along with Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami…”) and Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal”).
“I share this honor with the gift that is LaKeith Stanfield,” Kaluuya said.
All-Black producing team at the Oscars
Judas and the Black Messiah” not only retells history but made history itself: For the first time ever, one of the movies up for best picture has an all-Black producing team.
Charles King, the founder and CEO of MACRO, is one of the three producers.
After being a power agent and partner at one of Hollywood’s top agencies, King decided to take a leap of faith in 2015 to pursue his vision of building MACRO, a global media brand driven by people of color in efforts to tell stories that have the power to bring communities together.
Viola Davis at the Oscars 2021
This year, Viola Davis became the Oscars’ most nominated Black female actor ever when she landed her fourth nomination, this one for her lead role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.”
Davis won an Academy Award for her appearance in the 2016 film “Fences,” a role she originated in a 2001 Broadway revival that landed her a Tony Award. The Oscar win made her the first Black woman to win an Oscar, Emmy and Tony for acting. She won her Emmy in 2015 for her role in “How To Get Away With Murder,” and she has another Tony win for her role in “King Hedley II.” Along the way, her impassioned acceptance speeches have been some of the most potent thunderbolts of inspiration in the wider fight for diversity, beamed out to the unrepresented and the overlooked everywhere.
The 55-year-old actress has been a mainstay on screens big and small, and is more often getting cast front and center, with her roles in “How to Get Away With Murder” and the 2018 film “Widows.”
How Davis Made Oscars History Again
Davis the most nominated Black woman in Oscars history — along with her “Fences” nod, she was also nominated for best actress for 2011’s “The Help” and best supporting actress for 2008’s “Doubt.”
But if she wins, she will be the second Black woman crowned best actress in Oscars history. Just once before has a Black woman (Halle Berry in 2002 for “Monster’s Ball”) won best actress. The film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, based on an August Wilson play, is set around a recording session in 1920s Chicago as a blues band awaits the arrival of Ma Rainey. The movie also includes the final performance from actor Chadwick Boseman, who died last year of cancer.