Daniel Kaluuya has earned victory at the 93rd Academy Awards, winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah.
While it has to be said, Kaluuya’s dominating performance as Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah is far from a supporting performance. Nonetheless, his explosive, carefully nuanced portrayal of the civil rights activist leads and completes Shaka King’s incredible film.
Kaluuya’s role here is too strong not to receive praise, and he beat out some equally masterful performances in this category. His co-star, Lakeith Stanfield, arguably plays a more complex character than Kaluuya, and is totally absorbing as the film’s antihero, Paul Raci must also be mentioned for his breathtaking breakout performance in Sound of Metal.
However, Kaluuya edged out all competition to come out on top. Kaluuya accesses the subtleties of such a character, revealing his innate compassion and astuteness, particularly when he and his lover played terrifically by Dominique Fishback flirt and laugh with contagious delight around their flat.
The film is one of Shaka King’s most vital triumphs, refusing to make O’Neal the villain where he was merely another victim of injustice and a footnote in the continuing battle for civil rights across the world.