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‘Judas,’ ‘One Night in Miami’ Win Big at 2021 African American Film Critics Association Awards

Chadwick Boseman wins Best Actor for "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" but it's two other films that dominate the critics group's picks.

Daniel Kaluuya in Judas and the Black Messiah

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

The African American Film Critics Association has picked Shaka King’s acclaimed “Judas and the Black Messiah” as the best film of the year. This is the 12th such awards in the history of the organization, which last year gave top honors to Jordan Peele’s “Us.”

“Judas and the Black Messiah” was the big winner, as it also picked up Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and Best Supporting Actress for Dominique Fishback. “One Night in Miami” tied “Judas” for the most overall wins, however, with three total prizes: Best Director for Regina King, Best Screenplay for Kemp Powers, and Best Ensemble. The wins for both these films help them gain momentum as awards season advances.

Also gaining momentum? Chadwick Boseman, voted Best Actor by the critics group for his performance as a tormented trumpeter in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” That follows Best Actor wins for the late performer at the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice Awards, which, when added to BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, make him the favorite to beat for Best Actor at the Oscars April 25.

“In ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,’ Chadwick Boseman again showcased a great understanding and execution of the acting craft,” said AAFCA President/Co-Founder Gil Robertson. “In what is the final performance of his career, he confirmed why he will forever be considered one of the best actors of his generation. AAFCA is tremendously pleased to honor him for this extraordinary performance.”

Andra Day won Best Actress for the title roll in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.” Robertson said, “Our Best Actress winner Andra Day was phenomenal as Billie Holiday. Director Lee Daniels has a terrific knack for bringing out the very best from his actors and Day is no exception as she delivered a performance that serves as an impressive launch to an acting career we feel has great promise. The members of AAFCA are excited to see even more of her range in the future.”

Of “Judas and the Black Messiah” the organization’s president said, “Serving alongside an all-Black producing team, “Judas and the Black Messiah” director Shaka King created a project that permanently enshrines pivotal Black Panther leader Fred Hampton as an American hero. Released against the backdrop of the present-day Black Lives Matter movement, the film’s message of commitment and sacrifice to social justice is empowering. Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton is literally on fire and is supported well by Dominique Fishback who increasingly has become an actress to watch. Our members are thrilled to award the film with our highest honor.”

Here’s the full list of winners:

Best Picture: Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)

Best Director: Regina King, One Night In Miami (Amazon Studios)

Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix)

Best Actress: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)

Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)

Best Supporting Actress: Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)

Best Screenplay: Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)

Best Ensemble: One Night In Miami (Amazon Studios)

Best Foreign Film: Night of the Kings  (Neon)

Best Documentary:  All In: The Fight For Democracy (Amazon Studios)

Best Animation: Soul (Pixar/Disney)

Best Short Film: Two Distant Strangers

Breakout Performance: Radha Blank (Netflix)

Breakout Director: Shaka King (Warner Bros.)

In addition, the organization, the largest voting body of Black critics in the world, chose their Top 10 films of the year.

1. “Judas And The Black Messiah”

2. “One Night In Miami”

3. “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

4. “Nomadland”

5. “Night Of The Kings”

6. “American Skin”

7. “Da 5 Bloods”

8. “Minari”

9. “Miss Juneteenth”

10. “The United States Vs. Billie Holiday”

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