African American Film Critics Association Winners: Lupita Nyong’o and ‘Us’ Lead with Top Honors

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The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) announced their 2019 winners. Leading with three top honors is Jordan Peele‘s “Us,” taking the wins for Best Director, Best Film and Best Actress for lead Lupita Nyong’o, now a powerhouse presence among critic groups. “Dolemite Is My Name” star Eddie Murphy took the award for Best Actor.

The AAFCA Awards, sponsored by Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Deadline, takes place on Wednesday, January 22, 2019 at the Taglyan Complex. Due to the truncated awards season, the AAFCA Special Achievement Awards, as announced earlier in the year, will take place Saturday, April 11, 2020 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

Eddie Murphy in “Dolemite Is My Name”

Read from the AAFCA press release below, including words from AAFCA President/Co-Founder Gil Robertson and the association’s nominees and best films of the year.

“Jordan Peele continued to raise the bar in horror specifically and film overall” stated AAFCA President/Co-Founder Gil Robertson. “With ‘Us,’ he once again upended the horror genre. His centering of a black nuclear family determined to survive in a complex storyline in a genre where black family units have historically been unseen is extraordinary. He continues to push previously set boundaries with bold storylines that bring a refreshing perspective to cinema overall and the genre specifically. The film’s $255 million global gross is yet another example that inclusive filmmaking resonates big at the box office and it also resonated critically with our members who awarded the film with our highest honors.”

“Our Best Actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o put her craft in high gear by serving up double duty as both the lead protagonist and nemesis in ‘Us.’ Already awed by her skill in previous films, ‘Us’ just put her over the top,” shared Robertson. “Playing double duty allowed her to show even more range as an actor, putting her in an elite group of actresses who have helmed a successful box office film as the star. We are excited to see even more of her range in the future.”

“We are thrilled to honor legend Eddie Murphy as Best Actor for his amazing portrayal in “Dolemite Is My Name,” continued Robertson. “He is an icon whose genius has often gone unrewarded by ‘traditional’ and we couldn’t be more pleased that he receives this honor while paying homage to Rudy Ray Moore, another icon.”

 

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)
Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)
Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)
Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures)
Best Supporting Actress: Divine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)
Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)
Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)
Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)
Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)
Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)
Best Screenplay Presented with The Black List: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)
Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The organization, whose membership spans the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe and Africa and is the largest of its kind, also announced its ten best films of the year:

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films. 

1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)
2. “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
4. “Clemency” (Neon)
5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)
6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
7. “Waves” (A24)
8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)
9. The Farewell (A24)
10. “Harriet” (Focus Features)

“This year’s (eleven) best films reflect a wide spectrum of diversity and creativity. Many of them tackle social injustice and challenge the criminal justice system in the United States specifically. AAFCA members, who put in their ballots from as far away as Australia and Jamaica, cast a wide net to recognize films made in the U.S. and beyond.Their choices truly reflect the best of cinema in 2019,” said Robertson.

What do you think of the African American Film Critics Association winners and best of year list? Share your thoughts in the comments below!