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‘Us’ Leads African American Film Critics Association’s 2019 Awards and Ten Best List

Jordan Peele's horror blockbuster picked up three award wins, while half of the organization's 10 best films were directed by women.

Editorial use only. No book cover usage.Mandatory Credit: Photo by C Barius/Universal/ILM/Kobal/Shutterstock (10162635l)Lupita Nyong'o as Red'Us' Film - 2019A family's serenity turns to chaos when a group of doppelgängers begins to terrorize them.

Lupita Nyong’o as Red in Universal’s “Us”

C Barius/Universal/ILM/Kobal/Shutterstock

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has named Jordan Peele’s acclaimed horror film “Us” (Universal) Best Film of 2019. The tenth-highest box-office grosser of the year took home three awards, including Best Director for Peele and Best Actress for star Lupita Nyong’o.

“Jordan Peele continued to raise the bar in horror specifically and film overall,” said 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.”

Craig Brewer’s “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix) picked up two wins, including Best Actor for Eddie Murphy and Da’vine Joy Randolph for Best Supporting Actress. Murphy “is an icon whose genius has often gone unrewarded by ‘traditional’,” said Robertson, “and we couldn’t be more pleased that he receives this honor while paying homage to Rudy Ray Moore, another icon.”

A24’s family drama “Waves” and Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” (Neon) picked up two wins each. Kelvin Harrison, Jr. scored Best Breakout Performance in “Waves” and his costar Taylor Russell landed the We See You Award. “Parasite” grabbed wins for both Best Foreign Film and Best Screenplay.

Other winners include Jamie Foxx for Best Supporting Actor (Warner Bros.’ “Just Mercy”), Universal’s “Abominable” for Best Animated Film, “The Black Godfather” (Netflix) for Best Documentary, and “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24) for Best Independent Film. The organization’s Impact Award went to Universal’s “Queen & Slim.”

In addition, the AAFCA, whose membership spans the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe and Africa, announced its 10 best films of the year, which was also topped by “Us.” Half of the 10 films were directed by women, all females of color–this in a year when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) was criticized for shutting out women directors once more, despite 2019 being a banner year for feature films directed by women.

“This year’s best films reflect a wide spectrum of diversity and creativity,” said Robertson. “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.”

The AAFCA Awards takes place on Wednesday, January 22, 2019 at the Taglyan Complex.

See the complete list of AAFCA Awards recipients and top ten films below.

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: Da’Vine 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 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)


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