Judas And The Black Messiah

To the best of my knowledge, here’s how it works:

  1. For the movie itself, there are no set roles, just a list of cast members. I’m sure these are all negotiated with the actors–who is billed first, who is third, who is above the title vs. below the title, who gets “and” or “with” at the end–but for the movie itself, there is no designation of “lead” or “supporting” characters.

  2. When awards season comes around, studios campaign for who should be nominated for what role. I’m not sure if there’s a formal process, but it’s probably just ads in Variety or something: “For Your Consideration: Meryl Streep as Best Actress for The Iron Lady.”

  3. The studios can choose which awards they encourage or discourage based on their candidate’s chances. Maybe Nicole Kidman is in two movies this year, so they promote one role as Best Actress and the other one as Best Supporting Actress. so she’s not competing against herself. Or maybe Helen Mirren has 28 minutes of screen time while Charlize Theron has 52 minutes, but Mirren is promoted as Best Actress and Theron is promoted as Best Supporting Actress. Again, there are no rules for this.

  4. The Academy voters who nominate people are within the same category–actors vote for actors, editors vote for editors, and so on. But when they vote, they can overrule suggestions by the studios. So in this case, more people voted for Lakeith Stanfield as Best Supporting Actor than Best Actor, and the same for Daniel Kaluuya. I have no idea why.

Studios like to put up less-likely-to-win candidates in supporting rather than lead because it’s viewed as easier to win. It’s entirely possible that, despite it making no sense, both were put up for supporting because the studio thought only one would actually get a nom, and that they probably wouldn’t win lead but might win supporting. That seems to have backfired, if it was a strategic call. .

Wow, that’s very interesting … in a seat of the pants kind of way. I didn’t realize it was so … capricious. Thank you for letting me know Andy. I appreciate it.