A debate is raging that a best actor nomination should have gone to Stanfield, who propels the film in his role as real life FBI informant William O’Neal, who spied on Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton, played by Kaluuya.
Warner Bros. (which is owned by CNN’s parent company) campaigned for Stanfield in the best actor category, and after the nominations were announced Monday, writer Karen Han tweeted her confusion.
“if both daniel kaluuya and lakeith stanfield are supporting actors in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH then who in the world is the lead????,” she wrote.
Han was not alone.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences does not share voter information, but there are some theories out there.
Clayton Davis, Variety’s Film Awards Editor, wrote that “One theory was that the acting branch might have seen the film as an ensemble piece, similar to “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” and voted for both in the category.”
A rep for the Oscars declined comment.