Part of Oscar Picks.
Winner: Supporting Actor (Daniel Kaluuya), Original Song
Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (LaKeith Stanfield), Cinematography, Writing (Original Screenplay)
Fred Hampton’s cathartic words “I am a revolutionary” became a rallying call in 1969. As chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, Hampton demanded all power to the people and inspired a growing movement of solidarity, prompting the FBI to consider him a threat and to plant informant William O’Neal to infiltrate the party. JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH not only recounts Hampton’s legacy and the FBI’s conspiring, but also gives equal footing to the man who became infamous for his betrayal — highlighting the systems of inequality and oppression that fed both of their roles.
Director Shaka King returns to the Sundance Film Festival with an incredible cast of Sundance alums led by Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield. Kaluuya channels Hampton’s ability to energize and unite communities, while Stanfield taps into the anguish of a man with conflicting allegiances. Dominique Fishback also stands out in her reserved yet confronting performance as Deborah Johnson, Hampton’s life partner. King’s magnetic film carries themes that continue to resonate today and serves as a reminder of the potent power of the people.
(Synopsis from the 2021 Sundance Film Festival)
“Led by sensational performances from Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton and LaKeith Stanfield as William O'Neal…. This is a scalding account of oppression and revolution, coercion and betrayal, rendered more shocking by the undiminished currency of its themes.” —David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter “Represents a disciplined, impassioned effort to bring clarity to a volatile moment, to dispense with the sentimentality and revisionism that too often cloud movies about the ’60s and about the politics of race.” —A.O. Scott, New York Times “Buoyed by a trio of standout performances, this freshly resonant thriller brings urgent life to one of the Black Panther movement’s greatest tragedies. Shaka King is a force to be reckoned with.” —Jimi Famurewa, Empire