Golden Globes nominee profile: Daniel Kaluuya (‘Judas and the Black Messiah’) has supersized supporting role

Daniel Kaluuya emerged on the scene in 2018 with “Get Out,” a dark comedy hit that unexpectedly took the awards season by storm. He was nominated for his first Golden Globe that year as Comedy Actor. This year he contends in Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Kaluuya is also up for the Critics Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards in the same category, and is on the longlist for nomination consideration at BAFTA.

In this Warner Bros. film Kaluuya portrays Fred Hampton, chairman of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, a man so persuasive as a progressive political figure that the FBI and Chicago Police Department orchestrated his assassination in 1969. As Hampton, Kaluuya weaves together a portrait of a man that is in one palm falling in love with an equally young Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback) and in the other inspiring a community of disenfranchised people with his powerful speeches.

Kaluuya faces off against three Golden Globes champs: Bill Murray (“On the Rocks”) won in 2004 for “Lost in Translation,” Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”) won in 2008 for the first “Borat” film and Jared Leto (“The Little Things”) won in 2014 for “Dallas Buyers Club.” The fifth nominee in the field is Leslie Odom Jr. for “One Night in Miami,” who also contends as the songwriter of the film’s song “Speak Now.”

SEE 2021 Golden Globes nominations list: Nominees for 78th annual ceremony

Following his breakout year with “Get Out,” Kaluuya became a bona fide star with his participation in “Black Panther” and has shown wide range in his acting choices with roles as a villain in “Widows” and a romantic on the run in “Queen & Slim.” His ability to play both lead and supporting roles with equal passion comes to a head in “Judas and the Black Messiah” where he shares almost equal screen time with the lead Lakeith Stanfield as William O’Neal, the man who grows close to Hampton and informs the FBI of his whereabouts and dealings.

In each of the last three years the Golden Globes gave the Supporting Actor award to other roles that were arguably large enough to be lead: Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Mahershala Ali in “Green Book” and Sam Rockwell in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” A win here for Kaluuya would make him the fourth in a row to follow that trend and set him on the same path that won that trio of talent Oscars as well.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “Golden Globes nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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