By Jesse Childs
We are in the thick of awards season and tonight is none other than the 9th annual African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) Awards. The event takes place at the Taglyan Complex and the likes of Courtney B. Vance, Keegan Michael Key, and Ava Duvernay are expected to attend. The night aims to celebrate the best of the year in film, television and new media and is the brainchild of Gil L. Robertson, founder of the AAFCA. When asked what inspired the awards he said, “The AAFCA Awards were established in 2009 to recognize excellence in TV and Film. Prior to the live event, our association announced our top 10 favorites in film and acknowledged actors who had delivered the best performances of the year. The award show has allowed us to amplify our judgments.”
According to the AAFCA website, “The AAFCA Awards celebrates achievements in film and television as selected by members of our organization. Going into its 9th year, the annual star-studded event attracts some of the biggest names in Hollywood as it recognizes the best performances of the year. In keeping with AAFCA’s mission to support and promote achievement of minorities in the arts and entertainment industry, several special achievement awards are given for extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the film and television community.” This year’s theme is women in cinema and honorees include the cast of Queen Sugar- winner of Best TV Series/ Drama, Frances McDormand as Best Actress, Tiffany Haddish as Best Supporting Actress and Amanda Lipitz’s Best Documentary STEP.
Rob Reiner is receiving the Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice, and Best Director of the Best Film of the year, Jordan Peele, is also expected to be in attendance. Get Out will take home four awards in total, including Best Actor Daniel Kaluuya and Best Screenplay. Other acknowledged winners include the independent drama Crown Heights and its breakout lead star, Lakeith Stanfield. The winner of Best Ensemble Cast will go to Detroit and the Best New Media award will go to the Netflix hit Mudbound. The hit sitcom Blackish was voted as best TV Series- Comedy and the hilarious summer hit Girls Trip was voted Best Comedy.
Seeing as how many of the night’s winners are also up for Oscars this may very well be a sign of things to come. According to Gil L. Robertson, “AAFCA has a strong track record of indicating which films and performances will do well at the Oscars. This year Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” is certainly our film of choice the year. Another strong contender is Frances McDormand who gave a fantastic performance as a grieved mom in THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. And although it’s a different kind of film, SHAPE OF WATER is another film that we believe we do well.”
When asked what current films have a prospect of being contenders at next year’s AAFCA awards, Robertson had this to say, “The year is still young, but certainly, BLACK PANTHER will receive a lot of love at next year’s AAFCA. It’s the film of a lifetime! Also, A WRINKLE IN TIME is another movie that should garner attention from our membership.” The awards are voted on by the industry’s African American journalists representing all parts of cinema from all across the country. Voting took place in early December of last year and winners were announced a few days later. Click here for a full list of award recipients.