Judas and the Black Messiah's Lakeith Stanfield on mental health in Hollywood

The Oscar contenders are jostling for position ahead of next month's awards and one film high on the list with six nominations is Judas and the Black Messiah.

It's based on real events and was an important story for all those involved in the telling.

It's a potent story, and a true story. It's late 60's Chicago. Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) is the rising star of the Black Panthers, rising up the FBI threat list at the same rate.

They arrest and recruit a small-time con-man trading freedom for betrayal as Bill O'Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) infiltrates Hampton's inner circle, a small-time criminal who becomes a big-time informant.

It's a phenomenal journey and for the actors, the power and the powerlessness of playing these characters took its toll.

"It was a bit of a challenge the whole way through. There would be times where the whole day I'd be crying," says Stanfield. 

"I can't understand how to get through to this character or even if I'm doing the right thing by playing the character the way I've been playing him, it was really close to me. I took it very seriously. I hope we found a balance."

Stanfield poured everything he had into this film. And now with an Oscar-nomination for his efforts, he is calling for much more duty of care in Hollywood around the mental health of the acting community.

"When you fully immerse yourself into an experience, sometimes you take on the traumas that come with that," Stanfield says.

"There should be an importance put on mental health and being able to take care of yourself after diving into something that's so traumatic but also so close to your heart and that you care about."

Close to his heart and not to be missed, Judas and the Black Messiah has six Oscar nominations, including the prestigious Best Picture, and is in local cinemas now.