The UK based actor with roots from Uganda Daniel Kaluuya has won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his performance in ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ at the 2021 Oscars.
The 32-year-old Brit became the sixth Black actor to achieve the recognition in the acting category.
“What a man. How blessed we are that we lived in a lifetime where he existed. Kaluuya said of Fred Hampton, one of the leaders of the Black Panther Party. Thank you for your light. There’s so much work to do, guys and that’s on everyone in this room,”
Kaluuya beat out fellow nominees Sacha Baron Cohen of ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7,’ Leslie Odom Jr. of ‘One Night in Miami’ and Paul Raci of ‘Sound of Metal’ as well as his own ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ co-star, Lakeith Stanfield.
‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ told the story of Hampton (Kaluuya), the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and how he was betrayed by FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrated the political organization in late-1960s Chicago. The film was directed by Shaka King.
Black actors who have also won best supporting Oscars include Louis Gossett Jr. for ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ in 1983, Denzel Washington for ‘Glory’ in 1990, Cuba Gooding Jr. for ‘Jerry Maguire’ in 1997 and Morgan Freeman for ‘Million Dollar Baby’ in 2005. Mahershala Ali has won twice, once for ‘Moonlight’ in 2017 and again for ‘Green Book’ in 2019.
Kaluuya was previously nominated in the best actor category for his performance as Chris Washington in ‘Get Out’ in 2018.
Kaluuya was born in London, to Ugandan parents. His mother, Damalie, raised him on a council estate in Kentish Town, along with an older sister. His father lived in Uganda, and rarely visited due to UK visa regulations. Kaluuya attended St Aloysius College, London. He lives in West London.
Kaluuya began his career as a teenager in improvisational theatre. He subsequently portrayed Posh Kenneth the first two seasons of the British television series Skins, in which he co-wrote some of the episodes.
Playing the lead role in Sucker Punch at the Royal Court Theatre in London, Kaluuya was particularly praised for his performance and he won both the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer.
He played Michael “Tealeaf” Fry in the BBC dark comedy series Psychoville and Michael “Mac” Armstrong in the BBC Three horror drama series The Fades.He gained further acclaim for his performance as Bingham “Bing” Madsen in the Black Mirror episode ‘Fifteen Million Merits’.
Kaluuya appeared as Agent Colin Tucker in the 2011 film Johnny English Reborn and portrayed Black Death in the 2013 film Kick-Ass 2. In 2015, he had a supporting role in Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario.
In 2017, Kaluuya starred in Get Out which garnered him critical acclaim and a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. This was followed by roles in Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster film Black Panther (2018), Steve McQueen’s heist film Widows (2018) and Melina Matsoukas’s romantic road crime film Queen & Slim (2019).