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African American Film Critics Association Crowns ‘The Woman King’ the Best Film of 2022

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," "Emancipation," and documentary "Sidney" were also among the top picks.

THE WOMAN KING, from left: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, 2022.  © TriStar Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Woman King”

©TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) unveiled its top 10 list of 2022, with “The Woman King” named the best film of the year.

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, “The Woman King” stars Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and Thuso Mbedu as members of the all-female army the Agojie. John Boyega plays King Ghezo, ruler of the Dahomey kingdom in the 1820s.

“Our top film, ‘The Woman King,’ bridges the gap between telling important, heartfelt stories, and providing an entertaining experience for movie-going audiences,” AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson said in a press statement.

Emancipation,” starring Will Smith, and Apple Original documentary “Sidney,” about the life and activism of actor Sidney Poitier, also are among the top AAFCA picks for 2022.

“These true tales of Black empowerment and accomplishment, such as ‘Emancipation,’ ‘Devotion,’ and ‘Sidney,’ as well as fantastical tales such as ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and ‘Wendell & Wild’ invite us to experience under-appreciated pieces of history along with our own imaginings,” Robertson continued. “The best films of this year prove that diverse stories — the true and the fantastical — are not only important to the culture but are equally important to the movie-making business. Black films which make an impact on our minds and hearts are also making a sizable impact at the box office.”

Robertson added, “AAFCA is proud to honor these masterpieces, along with the rest of AAFCA’s Top 10 Films of 2022, and acknowledge their indelible impact on our industry and culture.”

Founded in 2003, the non-profit AAFCA is the premiere body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment that includes the Black experience and storytellers from the African Diaspora. The organization’s primary mission is to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contributions of African-descended talent to cinematic and television culture — from the artistic and technical legends of the past to the still unimagined breakthroughs of future generations.

See the full list of the AAFCA-selected films below:

10. “Devotion”

9. “Wendell & Wild”

8. “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

7. “Causeway”

6. “Inspection”

5. “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” & “Emancipation”

4. “Sidney”

3. “Till”

2. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

1. “The Woman King”

AAFCA will announce the winners of the 14th Annual AAFCA Awards honoring outstanding achievement in film in 15 competitive categories on January 16. An in-person celebration in Los Angeles will follow on March 1.

Last year, the AAFCA Awards honored Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall” with Best Picture and Best Director awards, with Will Smith winning Best Actor for “King Richard” and Jennifer Hudson earning Best Actress for Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect.”

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