It may be difficult to remember the beginning of the year, but Judas and the Black Messiah was one of the favorites to win at the Oscars. Due to the pandemic altering release schedules, Judas and the Black Messiah was allowed to compete with the major 2020 releases and did fairly well. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song and Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya, but it was a shame that it didn’t win Best Original Screenplay. Well, let’s rectify that by giving Judas and the Black Messiah our 2021 Golden Cage for Best Screenplay. After all, we are better than the Academy.
There’s always a challenge creating a story based on true events. How much does one adhere to the truth and how much does one take liberties with it? It’s a tough balancing act. If you don’t get creative, then it comes across as disingenuous to the real-life people portrayed in the film. If you play it too straight, then why not just watch a documentary that will have better authenticity? Will Berson and Shaka King found that balance and used it to craft a story that still felt relevant in 2021 and was devastatingly painful.
Both Kaluuya and Stanfield received nominations for acting, but an aspect of a great performance that people tend to forget about is the lines they say have to be good. It may seem like a foregone conclusion, but an actor is only as good as the material given to them. By the time the credits roll, you felt like you learned something about Fred Hampton and the Black Panthers. Something that will stick with you beyond the theater. Movies with great screenplays don’t get nearly as much attention as they do, so lets at least honor Judas and the Black Messiah for claiming the 2021 Golden Cage for Best Screenplay.