As with every award season, nominations can be a mixed bag. There tend to be the usual suspects, along with snubs, surprises and the WTF moments. The most recent WTF nomination happened during this week’s unveiling of Oscar contenders. LaKeith Stanfield scored a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the critical darling Judas and the Black Messiah, despite being the film’s lead. Even the actor was surprised by his nomination, so much so that it led to him dropping an F-bomb in a deleted social media response.
Since the release of Judas and the Black Messiah, LaKeith Stanfield has been pushed in the lead actor category in various awards ceremonies, while co-star Daniel Kaluuya being put in the supporting actor category. Kaluuya has scored multiple supporting actor wins and nominations for playing slain civil rights leader Fred Hampton. So the nomination of Stanfield in the same category at the Academy Awards was surprising, to say the least. The Oscar-nominated actor took to his Instagram to voice his confusion as well. Stanfield later deleted his post, but not before journalist Tomris Laffly managed to grab a screenshot. Check out her Twitter post below:
After deleting his initial response to being placed in the Best Supporting Actor category, LaKeith Stanfield posted a more lighthearted Instagram response to his first Oscar nomination. Check out the actor’s hilarious post below:
Despite the confusing Oscar nomination, I, along with many others, agree that LaKeith Stanfield did deserve a nomination, but in the Best Lead Actor category. Stanfield didn’t just play informant William O’Neal; he became his character. He was so believable that some felt his performance was too close to the actor’s persona. But playing O’Neal did affect audiences as Stanfield spoke on how the role took a mental toll on him even after the film wrapped. The actor’s turn as the informant was just the latest performance by him that captured the public’s attention. Being the lead of such an important film, he did deserve a lead nomination rather than supporting.
But LaKeith Stanfield wasn’t the only one confused over his Oscar nomination. Nominating both Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya in the Support Actor category spoke more about the award nomination process. In recent years, the Oscars have come under fire for its nomination process, with lead and supporting designation, as well as screen time, becoming significant issues. With Chadwick Boseman being nominated in the Lead Actor category, it's possible that the Academy simply didn’t want Stanfield to take votes away from the late actor. Currently Boseman is the frontrunner to win the Oscar posthumously.
While Chadwick Boseman might not be the reason, LaKeith Stanfield’s Supporting Actor nomination countered the Warner Bros. award seasons campaign. But Stanfield deserved to be recognized for his commanding performance in Judas and the Black Messiah. Hopefully this is just the first of many nominations the actor will score over his career.