If there’s one thing we know to be true about Oscar voters, it’s that they love to award young women and old men for their acting prowess. That’s why it would be noteworthy if Daniel Kaluuya took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah” come April 25, as he would become the seventh youngest actor to ever win the award, at just 32 years, 60 days old.
Kaluuya, who is competing alongside his “Judas” co-star Lakeith Stanfield after voters nominated the latter actor in supporting instead of lead where he was campaigning, is currently in first place in Gold Derby’s combined odds to win the Oscar. Thirteen Experts are currently predicting him to triumph over the competition, which includes, in order, Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” 4/1 odds), Leslie Odom, Jr. (“One Night in Miami,” 4/1 odds), Paul Raci (“Sound of Metal,” 9/2 odds) and Stanfield (9/2 odds).
Should he prevail, Kaluuya will join an elite group of men who weren’t necessarily that young by normal human standards when they won but are definitely young by Oscar standards, at least when it comes to actors. The youngest man to win the supporting category was Timothy Hutton, who was 20 years and 227 days old when he triumphed for his performance in “Ordinary People” in 1981. (For comparison’s sake, Tatum O’Neal was just 10 years, 148 days old when she won Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “Paper Moon” in 1974.)
The five other actors who were younger than Kaluuya when they claimed the Best Supporting Actor Oscar were George Chakiris (“West Side Story,” 27 years 205 days), the late Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight,” 28 years, 293 days old at the time of his death), Cuba Gooding, Jr. (“Jerry Maguire,” 29 years, 81 days), Jack Lemmon (“Mister Roberts,” 31 years, 42 days) and Robert De Niro (“The Godfather Part II,” 31 years, 234 days). The current seventh youngest winner is Van Heflin, who was 32 years, 81 days old when he took home the award for 1942’s “Johnny Eager.”
As Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party who founded the Rainbow Coalition and was later betrayed by William O’Neal (Stanfield), Kaluuya gives a stellar performance that has been raved about since the film’s debut in February. He has already taken home the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award, and is predicted to collect the Screen Actors Guild Award and the BAFTA as well. If he wins out, Kaluuya, who was nominated for Best Actor for “Get Out” (2017), will be the fourth actor in as many years to complete the sweep after Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”), Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) and Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”).
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