Oscars update: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’s’ Daniel Kaluuya shakes up Experts’ top 5

What a difference a year makes. Well, a week, technically. On New Year’s Eve, “Judas and the Black Messiah’s” Daniel Kaluuya was in 10th place in our Experts’ Best Supporting Actor Oscar racetrack odds, but as we entered 2021, the former Oscar nominee entered the top five in fifth place. Now? He’s in fourth place.

This is the second major shake-up this category has seen in as many weeks. Last week, “Sound of Metal” fan favorite Paul Raci stormed into the top three, where he remains behind No. 1 Leslie Odom Jr. (“One Night in Miami”) and No. 2 Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”). Thanks in part to Kaluuya’s rise, two of last week’s top five are out: “Chicago 7” co-stars Mark Rylance, who’s fallen to sixth, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, now in seventh. Stanley Tucci (“Supernova”), who was in sixth last week, rose one spot.

The top five is a bit different in the combined racetrack odds: Kaluuya leapt to third there, behind Odom and Baron Cohen, respectively, while Raci is in fourth and Rylance is in fifth.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is one of the few remaining contenders yet to roll out in this weird, elongated season. Set for a Feb. 12 debut in theaters and on HBO Max, the film chronicles the true story of how career criminal-turned-FBI informant William O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) infiltrated the Black Panther Party to take down its chairman Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), who was killed in 1969. There’s been buzz around Kaluuya’s turn as the charismatic leader long before anyone saw a single frame of the film, which was originally scheduled to be released in August before COVID-19 struck. As “Judas” has slowly started screening for the press, Kaluuya’s surge in the odds is a signal that the goods are there for at least a nomination. Two Experts, Clayton Davis (Variety) and Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), are picking Kaluuya for the win.

It also helps him that supporting actor is ostensibly anyone’s game. The only two potential nominees everyone has agreed on since the start are Odom and Baron Cohen. After that, any configuration looks possible, but the support is starting to consolidate around Kaluuya and Raci.

Experts top 5:
1. Leslie Odom Jr., “One Night in Miami”
2. Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
3. Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”
4. Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
5. Stanley Tucci, “Supernova”

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

Experts' Oscar predictions for Best Supporting Actor
'Sound of Metal' star Paul Raci has upended the top five

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