The Oscar Project Reviews
It's hard to come to a movie with a title like Judas and the Black Messiah without any preconceptions, but the more openly you can approach this movie the better.
The film follows the events of the late 1960s when a young petty criminal named Bill O'Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) seeks to avoid prison time for stealing a car by working with the FBI to infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, led by Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). O'Neal must gain Hampton's trust, while simultaneously navigating the world of a very white criminal justice organization that he doesn't fully trust.
You might think coming into this film that it's going to glorify the Black Panther Party, but it does not. Neither does it paint them in a fully negative light. There are moments where the people involved in the party are violent and vengeful, but there are also tender moments, showing their humanity. Throughout the film, I found my own allegiances changing from scene to scene, keeping my on my toes as I tried to figure out exactly who was on who's side on screen.
Kaluuya was long rumored to be an Oscar contender for his role in this film, and won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor back in February 2021. I was not surprised to see Stanfield receive a nomination for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar alongside Kaluuya and honestly think his portrayal of the O'Neal's Judas character was better than Kaluuya's.
Overall, this is a powerful film with strong performances throughout the cast. I highly recommend this film as we wait to see how many Oscars it can bring home at the end of April.
8 out of 10