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Daniel Kaluuya wins Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars 2021

Judas and the Black Messiah
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Daniel Kaluuya has won the Best Actor award at the 2021 Oscars for his performance in Judas and the Black Messiah. He beat Sacha Baron Cohen (Trial of the Chicago 7), Leslie Odom, Jr. (One Night in Miami), Paul Raci (Sound of Metal), and Lakeith Stanfield (also Judas and the Black Messiah). 

Kaluuya plays Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Black Panther Party's Chicago chapter in the late '60s. The movie follows his betrayal at the hands of FBI informant William O'Neal (played by fellow nominee Stanfield). Directed by Shaka King and produced by Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, the movie's supporting cast includes Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders, and Martin Sheen.

"It's so hard to make a film about a man like this," the actor said in his acceptance speech. "I share this honor with the gift that is LaKeith Stanfield, the light that is Dominique Fishback, the incredible cast, the incredible crew... To Chairman Fred Hampton, what a man. How blessed that we live in a lifetime where he existed. Thank you for your life."

"There's so much work to do, and that's on everyone in this room," he continued. "I'm going to work Tuesday morning, 'cause tonight I'm partying!"

Kaluuya and Stanfield being nominated in the same category raised some eyebrows when the nominees were announced – Kaluuya was nominated in the Supporting Actor category at the Golden Globes, so many expected Stanfield to receive a nod in the Best Actor list at the Oscars. Meanwhile, the Oscar for Best Actor went to Anthony Hopkins, while Best Picture went to Nomadland.

For more on the Oscars, check out our list of all the Oscars 2021 winners.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.