Judas and the Black Messiah Looks Like Oscar Contender in New Trailer


The Oscar race isn’t over until Shaka King’s Black Panther drama premieres on February 12.

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

Ever since I saw the first trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah back in August, I’ve viewed it as the frontrunner for this year’s Best Picture statue, and now Warner Bros. has released a new trailer that’s just as good as the first, if not better. It may be unfair to call Judas a prime Oscar contender before I’ve even seen it, but if my gut proves correct, this movie will have the stuff to go all the way come April 25.


Lakeith Stanfield stars as FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party to keep tabs on its charismatic leader, Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his FBI handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Dominique Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and the Black Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) commands?


Image via Warner Bros.

Shaka King directs from a script he co-wrote with Will Berson, based on a story credited to both of them, as well as twin brothers Keith and Kenny Lucas. King also produced the film with Ryan Coogler and MACRO founder Charles D. King, who has long impressed me with his taste and vision. King will certainly be one to watch after this.

While the rest of the supporting cast includes Ashton Sanders, Jermaine Fowler, Algee Smith, Lil Rel Howery and indie stalwart Robert Longstreet, the individual whose work I’m most excited to see is cinematographer Sean Bobbitt, who shot my personal favorites The Place Beyond the Pines and Stronger, as well as Steve McQueen‘s Shame, Widows and 12 Years a Slave. Bobbitt is a major talent, and was likely a huge help to Shaka King given that Judas was his first time directing a studio movie.

Not only will Judas and the Black Messiah open in theaters on Feb. 12, but it will debut the very same day on HBO Max at no extra cost to subscribers. This is one of my most anticipated films of the year, so check out the new trailer, and let me know where it would rank on this list of the best movie trailers of 2020, where the film’s first trailer took silver.

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