<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 18, 2021



‘JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH’ is currently nominated as Oscar best picture, with its two lead actors nominated as best supporting actors and not as best actors. 

We don’t really know the reason for this and the Oscar people have not explained it. But it’s clear as daylight that Lakeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal, the Judas, and Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, the black messiah, are playing lead title roles.

Hampton is the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party who was assassinated by the FBI in 1969 when he was only 21 years old. Daniel Kaluuya who portrayed him in the movie is already 32 years old and he looks it. 

He has become fat since he played the lead role in the hit horror flick “Get Out”. You have to suspend a lot of your credulity to believe that he is Hampton, who is even better looking than him in person, as shown in the actual film clips of the real Hampton at the film’s ending. 

If you’d ask us, the true lead in the film is Lakeith Stanfield as Bill, the judas who betrayed Hampton. Stanfield was also in “Get Out” playing a supporting role as a past victim of Daniel’s girlfriend in the movie. 

He screamed the film’s title “Get Out” when he warned Daniel that his life is in danger. This time, the movie starts and ends with him.

Set in Chicago in the late 60s, it’s co-written and directed by Shaka King, who now joins the ranks of acclaimed black directors like Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”, “Small Axe”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”, “If Beale Street Could Talk”), Jordan Peele (“Get Out”) and Spike Lee (“BlackKlansman”, “Da 5 Bloods”).

“Judas” starts with Bill O’Neal posing as an FBI agent to carnap a vehicle, but his would be victim uncovers his stunt and fights back.

A real FBI agent, Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons), then offers to have the charges against him dropped if he’d agree to work as an undercover agent for the FBI. 

His mission: to infiltrate the Black Panther Party or BPP and get close to its leader, Hampton. 

O’Neal succeeds in doing so and really becomes close to Hampton’s inner circle of other BPP members. 

It gets to a point that he feels guilty about what he’s doing and tries to resign but this is rejected by Mitchell. 

The FBI director then, J. Edgar Hoover (played by an unrecognizably old Martin Sheen), orders that Hampton be killed. 

O’Neal is instructed to drug Hampton’s drink in his apartment. 

He does so then leaves, and FBI agents then storm the place and succeed in killing Hampton. 

As his reward, the FBI gives O’Neal money and his own gas station. An end credits caption says that just like the real Judas in the Bible, O’Neal also later committed suicide. 

The heirs of Hampton filed a suit against the FBI for his murder and it took 12 years for this to be resolved with them getting $1.85 million. 

Stanfield is obviously the film’s lead as the film focuses more on him, showing his emotional journey and thought processes as the conflicted traitor who leads to Hampton’s cold-blooded murder. 

As a historical drama, the film’s main theme is racial relations in America, where oppression and hatred loomed since the days of slavery. 

The showing of the film is very timely as the U.S. simmers with Black Lives Matter protesters because of the recent violence against black people. 

The Black Power civil rights movement was then considered by Hoover as a revolutionary move that is the biggest single threat to American democracy, even more so than the communists, and so it has to be cut down at all costs. 

His racist views are very apparent as he’s afraid that Hampton might be the “messiah” who’d succeed in uniting all the black protest groups demanding social justice in one big group, called the Rainbow Coalition, so the young black leader inevitably becomes a marked man.

This film shares the same views of the equally acclaimed “Trial of Chicago 7” and “The Mauritanian” in advancing the idea that America can be a police state in itself. 

We’re shown that American authorities are not above in employing all unscrupulous methods of coercion that it routinely denounces when utilized by Muslim or communist countries. 

Hoover here is acting like he’s the law all by himself, the way the Pentagon did in “The Mauritanian”. 

The Panthers maybe idealists and revolutionaires who want to overthrow the establishment, but they were no match to the brutal treachery and systemic violence of the FBI and other U.S. law enforcers.

So, although, Stanfield gives the more demanding performance as the judas, it’s Kaluuya as Hampton who’s all set to achieve Oscar glory as he has already won the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards. 

This is really the year of black actors as the late Chadwick Boseman would win Oscar best actor and the best actress award will go to either Andra Day or Viola Davis, who both play black singers.