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

December 15, 2020
Daniel Kaluuya Career Summary:

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Nationality: father, Uganda

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Training: child actor

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Screen Image: character actor

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Daniel Kaluuya (born February 24, 1989), a British actor and writer, began his career as a teenager in improvisational theatre. He subsequently appeared in the first two seasons of the British television series Skins, in which he co-wrote some of the episodes.

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

He played Michael “Tealeaf” Fry in the BBC dark comedy series Psychoville and Michael “Mac” Armstrong in the BBC Three horror drama series The Fades.

He gained further acclaim for his performance as Bingham “Bing” Madsen in the Black Mirror episode “Fifteen Million Merits”. Kaluuya appeared as Agent Colin Tucker in the 2011 film Johnny English Reborn and portrayed Black Death in the 2013 film Kick-Ass 2. In 2015, he had a supporting role in Denis Villeneuve’s film Sicario.

In 2017 Kaluuya starred in Get Out which garnered him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 2018, he portrayed W’Kabi in Ryan Coogler’s blockbuster film Black Panther and appeared in Steve McQueen’s heist film Widows.

Kaluuya was born in London, to Ugandan parents. His mother, Damalie, raised him on a council estate in Kentish Town, along with an older sister. His father lived in Uganda, and rarely visited due to UK visa regulations.

Kaluuya attended St Aloysius College, London. He lives in West London.  Kaluuya is an 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”.

Kaluuya wrote his first play at the age of nine, after which he began performing improvisational theatre. He began acting as a child at his local Anna Scher Theatre School and WAC Arts.[13] His early roles included 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”.[14]

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 and Paul. Kaluuya also voiced a character in the BBC Radio 4 sitcom Sneakiepeeks.[15] 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.[16]

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 and he won both the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer.[17] 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 Festival, and went on to win the Best Short Film Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival, 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.[17] Also in 2011, he played the role of Mac Armstrong in BBC3’s supernatural drama series The Fades.[17] In 2013, he appeared in the superhero comedy film Kick Ass 2.[20] In 2015, he portrayed an FBI Agent in Denis Villeneuve’s thriller film Sicario.[21][22]

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 from critics.[23] The episode originally premiered on Channel 4 in 2011, but gained popularity after it was subsequently released on Netflix in the United States.[24] 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.[25][26] Kaluuya’s performance in Get Out, which was released in cinemas on 24 February 2017 (his 28th birthday),[27] attracted significant critical acclaim.[28][29] Steven Gaydos of Variety wrote that “the terror, tension, humor, and fury of this powerfully effective cinematic balancing act all rests on the shoulders of this brilliant young British actor who communicates universal anxieties without ever losing the essential home address of his beleaguered African-American hero.”

Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair called Kaluuya’s performance a “masterful, telling piece of acting.”[30] For his performance, he received numerous accolades, including an Best Actor Oscar nomination. He also received nominations for a BAFTA Award,[31] a Golden Globe,[32] a SAG Award,[33] and a Critics’ Choice 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.[36] The film was released on 16 February 2018, in the United States.[37] 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 is set 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 will “surprise audiences and subvert expectations.”[38]

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 Post-production

Television

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[39] Various Episode: “Happy Finish”
2010–2012 Harry and Paul Parking Pataweyo 5 episodes
2011 Coming Up[40] 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