Judas and the Black Messiah makes history as first Best Picture nominee with all Black producers
Among the Oscar nominations revealed Monday for the film were Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for both Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (apparently neither Judas nor the Black Messiah were the leads of Judas and the Black Messiah), and Best Picture. With Shaka King, Charles D. King, and Ryan Coogler serving as the producer trio, Judas became the first Best Picture nominee with all Black producers.
Directed by Shaka King, who was one of the four writers recognized for the film's script, Judas stars Kaluuya as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, whose movement was infiltrated by the FBI and informant William O'Neal (Stanfield). The charismatic activist inspired a generation, until, as he lay in bed, he was shot and killed by police in 1969 at the age of 21.
"Art is at its best when it's just a reflection of yourself, and you're seeing something about yourself," Kaluuya told EW last year of what he hoped audiences would take from Judas. "It ignites something in you, and then you have to look at what it brings up. But it's not for me to say, 'This is what the message is.' I find it fascinating to see what people bring to it, or what people want to take away. I'm trying not to dictate that. One of my aspirations was to show how brilliant these people were in every way, and what they were really doing, to show the full picture, away from the narrow narrative that has been portrayed. Show what they were really doing in this time, and how revolutionary their ideas were.
"It didn't necessarily mean destruction," he continued. "They were actually about healing and loving and taking care of your community. These activities do not feel like they're associated with the Black Panther party but that's the foundation of it, which is why it spread. Which is why other communities wanted to take on the ideology. It's about putting that out there. Then, if people want to take it, that's the blessing."
The winners will be announced at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, April 25. It will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.