Oscar Actors: Kalluya, Daniel–Background, Career, Awards

Updated August 30, 2021
Daniel Kaluuya Career Summary:

Occupational Inheritance: No

Social Class:

Race/Ethnicity/Religion: Nigerian-UK

Family:

Education:

Training: child actor

Teacher/Inspirational Figure:

Radio Debut:

TV Debut:

Stage Debut: 2008 (Royal Court Theater)

Broadway Debut:

Film Debut: 2006; aged 17

Breakthrough Role: Get Out

Oscar Role: Judas and the Black Messiah, 2021; age 32

Other Noms: Get Out, 2017;

Other Awards: CCA

Frequent Collaborator:

Screen Image:

Last Film:

Career Output:

Film Career Span:

Marriage:

Politics:

Death: NA

Daniel Kaluuya (born 24 February 1989), the Ugandan-British actor and former writer, began his acting career as a teenager in improvisational theatre.

He portrayed Posh Kenneth in the first two seasons of the British TV series Skins; he also co-wrote some of the episodes.

Kaluuya was praised for his leading performance in Sucker Punch at the Royal Court Theatre in London and he won both the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer.

In 2018, he received the BAFTA Rising Star Award.

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, Kaluuya gained further notice for his performances as Michael “Tealeaf” Fry in the BBC dark comedy series Psychoville, Michael “Mac” Armstrong in the BBC Three horror drama series The Fades, and Bingham “Bing” Madsen in the Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Merits.”

He appeared as Agent Colin Tucker in the 2011 spy action comedy film Johnny English Reborn and portrayed Black Death in the 2013 superhero film Kick-Ass 2.

In 2015, he had a supporting role in Denis Villeneuve’s thriller film Sicario.

In 2017, Kaluuya achieved a career breakthrough after starring in Jordan Peele’s popular horror film Get Out, which garnered him a nomination for the Best Actor Oscar.

This was followed by roles in Ryan Coogler’s superhero film Black Panther (2018), Steve McQueen’s heist film Widows (2018), and Melina Matsoukas’s romantic road crime film Queen & Slim (2019).

For his portrayal of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah (2021), he won the Oscar, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor.

At age 32, Kaluuya became the seventh-youngest Best Supporting Actor winner.

He is the first British actor of African heritage to win an Oscar.

Kaluuya was born on 24 February 1989 in London to Ugandan parents. His mother raised him on a council estate in Camden Town, along with an older sister. His father lived in Balaka and they had no contact until he was 15.

Kaluuya attended Torriano Primary School, St Aloysius College, Highgate, and Camden School for Girls sixth form.

Kaluuya wrote his first play at the age of 9, after which he began performing improvisational theatre.

He began acting as a child at his local Anna Scher Theatre School and WAC Arts. He appeared in his first credited acting role in 2006 as Reece in the BBC’s controversial drama Shoot the Messenger. Kaluuya then joined the original cast of Skins as Posh Kenneth; he was also a contributing writer on the first two seasons of the series, as well as the head writer of the episodes titled “Jal” and “Thomas.”

After Skins, Kaluuya appeared as a guest star in many popular television series such as Silent Witness, the Doctor Who special “Planet of the Dead”, and Lewis. He has also appeared in the sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look twice and as fan favourite character “Parking Pataweyo” in the sketch show Harry & Paul. Kaluuya also voiced a character in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Sneakiepeeks.

In 2009, he became a regular cast member in the ITV comedy FM. At the end of 2009, the Screen International Magazine picked Kaluuya out in their annual report as a UK Star of Tomorrow.

In 2010, Kaluuya played the lead role in Roy Williams’ Sucker Punch at the Royal Court Theatre in London; Kaluuya won rave reviews for his performance, winning both the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer.

From 2009 to 2011, he portrayed Michael “Tea Leaf” Fry in the dark BBC comedy Psychoville.

Between 2011 and 2013, Kaluuya appeared in several short films, most notably in Daniel Mulloy’s “Baby,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Fest, and went on to win the Best Short Film Award at the Edinburgh Fest, as well as the Best Short Film Award at the British Independent Film Awards.

In 2011, he appeared in the sequel to the 2003 film Johnny English, titled Johnny English Reborn, as Agent Tucker. Also in 2011, he played the role of Mac Armstrong in BBC3’s supernatural drama series The Fades.

In 2013, he appeared in the superhero comedy film Kick Ass 2.

In 2015, he portrayed an FBI Agent in Denis Villeneuve’s thriller film Sicario.

Kaluuya played one of the lead characters opposite Jessica Brown Findlay in “Fifteen Million Merits”, an episode of the anthology series Black Mirror, for which he received positive reviews. The episode originally premiered on Channel 4 in 2011, but gained popularity after it was subsequently released on Netflix in the United States. It was his performance in Black Mirror that attracted the attention of Jordan Peele, who later cast him in Get Out, which proved to be his breakthrough role.

Kaluuya’s performance in Get Out, which was released in cinemas on 24 February 2017 (his 28th birthday), attracted critical acclaim.

For his performance, he received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also received nominations for a BAFTA Award, Critics’ Choice Award, Golden Globe Award, and SAG Award for his role. In 2018, he received the BAFTA Rising Star Award.

In December 2016, Kaluuya was cast in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Panther. The film was released on 16 February 2018, in the United States. Kaluuya also had a large role in the heist film Widows (2018), and starred in the road trip/crime movie Queen & Slim (2019), opposite Jodie Turner-Smith.

In October 2019, it was announced that Kaluuya was to produce a feature film based on the children’s television show Barney & Friends through his newly formed production company 59%, alongside Mattel Films. According to Kaluuya, the Barney film would “surprise audiences and subvert expectations.”

In 2018, he joined the voice cast of the BBC and Netflix’s miniseries Watership Down.

In 2021, he starred as revolutionary socialist Fred Hampton in the biographical drama, Judas and the Black Messiah. His performance in the film was lauded by critics, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Supporting Actor, Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.

Kaluuya lives in West London. He is ardent supporter of Arsenal F.C., to the extent of referring to Arsenal’s North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., as the “team who must not be named” and the “Voldemort of the League.” He told Jimmy Kimmel Live! that his mother did not understand his success.

Filmography

2006 Shoot the Messenger Reece
2008 Cass Young Cass Pennant
2010 Chatroom Mo
2011 Johnny English Reborn Agent Colin Tucker
2013 Welcome to the Punch Juka Ogadowa
Kick-Ass 2 Black Death
2015 Sicario Reggie Wayne
2017 Get Out Chris Washington
2018 Black Panther W’Kabi
Widows Jatemme Manning
2019 Queen & Slim Slim
2020 A Christmas Carol Ghost of Christmas Present (voice)
2021 Judas and the Black Messiah Fred Hampton
2022 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever W’Kabi Filming
Nope
Television
Year Title Role Notes
2007 The Whistleblowers School Bully Episode: “No Child Left Behind”
Comedy: Shuffle Dean Episode: “Brendon Burns”
2007–2009 Skins Posh Kenneth 11 episodes
Also wrote 2 episodes
2008 Delta Forever Roger Episode: “Pilot”
Silent Witness Errol Harris 2 episodes
2008–2009 That Mitchell and Webb Look Various 2 episodes
2009 Doctor Who Barclay Episode: “Planet of the Dead”
Lewis Declan Episode: “Counter Culture Blues”
FM Ades 4 episodes
The Philanthropist Episode: “Nigeria Part II”
10 Minute Tales Soldier #2 Episode: “The Three Kings”
2009–2011 Psychoville Michael “Tealeaf” Fry 12 episodes
2010 Comedy Lab[45] Various Episode: “Happy Finish”
2010–2012 Harry & Paul Parking Pataweyo 5 episodes
2011 Coming Up[46] Micah Episode: “Micah”
The Fades Michael “Mac” Armstrong 6 episodes
Black Mirror Bingham “Bing” Madsen Episode: “Fifteen Million Merits”
Random Brother Television film
2014 Babylon Matt Coward 7 episodes
2018 Watership Down Bluebell (voice) Miniseries[38]
2021 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: “Daniel Kaluuya/St. Vincent”

Theatre
2008-2009 Oxford Street Royal Court Theatre, London
2010 Sucker Punch Leon Royal Court Theatre, London
2013 Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ Tom Wrench Donmar Warehouse, London
A Season in the Congo Joseph Mobutu Young Vic, London
2016 Blue/Orange Christopher