Judas and the Black Messiah Gets an Awards-Friendly Release Date

The expanded Oscar eligibility rules will allow Shaka King’s film to compete.

LaKeith Stanfield in Judas and the Black Messiah

After releasing an electrifying trailer for Judas and the Black Messiah back in August, Warner Bros. has finally slated a release date for the drama. The film will open in theaters and on HBO Max on February 12, 2021. The film stars LaKeith Stanfield as FBI informant William O’Neal as he’s tasked with keeping tabs on Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).

This is one of my most-anticipated movies of 2021, and I’m glad that Warner Bros. has enough confidence in it to release it in the Academy’s awards window. The Academy pushed its eligibility window for 2020 into 2021 with the Oscars being held in April 2021, so it will be interesting to see if Judas and the Black Messiah can build up enough buzz or if it will have trouble going against contenders like Nomadland and Minari, which have already been seen in film festivals. Either way, I can’t wait to see what director Shaka King has done with this story, and I’m glad we only have to wait about six weeks to finally see it.

Check out the Judas and the Black Messiah trailer below. The film also stars Jesse Plemons, Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, and Martin Sheen.

Here’s the official synopsis for Judas and the Black Messiah:

FBI informant William O’Neal infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both his comrades and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell. Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson. Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the forces of good? Or subdue Hampton and The Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover commands?

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