Whenever the 2021 Oscar nominations come out, Daniel Kaluuya is an actor to keep an eye on after his performance in "Judas and the Black Messiah."
Warner Brothers most recent release is sweeping the nation as a potential award-winning film thanks to its powerful acting and impactful story. "Judas and the Black Messiah'' is streaming on HBO Max and is the must-see movie to come out in February of this year.
William O'Neil, played by LaKieth Stanfield, was offered a plea deal from the FBI after attempting to commit grand theft auto and impersonating an officer. His objective was to infiltrate the Illinois Black Panther chapter and get close to public influencer Fred Hampton, played by Kaluuya.
This film is based on a true story and is likely one that you've heard. It takes place during the race struggles in the 1960s and is a vital piece of the social justice movement. In his early 20s, Hampton was the leader of the Black Panther Party in Illinois and was seen as a controversial figure for his radical views on capitalism and systemic failures.
Over the last few years, there have been dozens of popular movies surrounding racial tensions throughout history. However, "Judas and the Black Messiah" is one of the most powerful of those films.
The scenes where Kaluuya speaks in public are conveyed with the utmost confidence. While I was in the theater, I felt like I was transported into the crowds of his public appearances. It's not uncommon for good actors to portray influential figures in history, but to act with the determination Kaluuya has was truly special to witness.
Kaluuya is no stranger to incredible performances. He broke out on the scene in 2017 in Jordan Pelle's "Get Out." His filmography is outstanding, including his roles in "Black Panther," "Widows" and "Sicario." He's cemented himself as one of Hollywood's top performers right now, with the best hopefully yet to come.
Stanfield was also spectacular. He displayed O'Neil's interpersonal conflict between ratting out the Black Panther Party and what he believes in as a Black man. His most powerful moments in "Judas and the Black Messiah" are the ones where he doesn't have to say anything. His non-vocal acting carried his performance to the level we are accustomed to seeing him.
Stanfield was also in "Get Out," along with "Knives Out," "Sorry to Bother You," "Uncut Gems," and "Straight Outta Compton."
Kaluuya and Stanfield should get a bevy of award nominations on top of what they've already received from the Golden Globes. The Golden Globes nominated Kaluuya for his supporting role, but the Golden Globes are one of the most corrupt awards shows in cinema. I will touch on that in a later column.
Where I think "Judas and the Black Messiah" could've been even better was the ending. The lasting effects of what happened to O'Neil could've taken the movie to another level. I'm nit-picking, but I like to compare them with other films without any flaws when movies are this good.
If you liked Spike Lee's "BlackKklansman," this is the film for you. I gave "Judas and the Black Messiah" a 94/100. Next week, I will be reviewing the new Netflix original, "I Care a Lot."