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‘The Woman King,’ ‘Black Panther,’ Will Smith Among 2023 AAFCA Awards Winners

The 2023 AAFCA Awards will give a special honor to “Emancipation” director Antoine Fuqua and star Will Smith at its March 1 ceremony.

Nanisca (Viola Davis) in TriStar Pictures' THE WOMAN KING.

“The Woman King”

Ilze Kitshoff

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has announced the winners and special honorees for its 14th Annual AAFCA Awards, with “The Woman King,” its previously announced Best Picture of 2022, also taking home Best Director for Gina Prince-Bythewood.

In the acting categories, breakout stars Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”) and Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) won Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively, while Best Supporting Actor went to Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”) and Best Supporting Actress to Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”).

Several films received multiple awards, with Rian Johnson’s “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” winning Best Writing and Best Ensemble, “Till” also winning the Emerging Face award for star Jalyn Hall and the special Impact Award, and “Wakanda Forever” in particular also nabbing Best Song for Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up,” and two special honors: the Building Change Award to production designer Hannah Beachler and the Ashley Boone Award to producer Nate Moore.

Speaking of notable special honors, the Beacon Award will go to “Emancipation” director Antoine Fuqua and star Will Smith (the first big award season honor the Best Actor winner has received since “The Slap” debacle at last year’s Oscars). 

The winners announcement was made by AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson, who said via statement that “AAFCA is deeply honored to recognize some of the most captivating films and performances of the year.” He added, “These thought-provoking stories of strength, determination and courage lift us and entertain us. It’s an honor to recognize the incredible, visionary work both in front of and behind the camera of this year’s AAFCA Award winners.” Winners are voted on by AAFCA’s 100+ members.

The winners and special honorees will be celebrated at the 14th Annual AAFCA Awards on March 1st at the Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles. 

See the full list of 2023 AAFCA Award winners and Special Honorees below.


Best Picture: “The Woman King”

Best Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”)

Best Actor: Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”)

Best Actress: Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”)

Best Supporting Actor: Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”)

Best Supporting Actress: Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

Emerging Face: Jalyn Hall (“Till” & “Bruiser”)

Emerging Filmmaker: Carey Williams (“Emergency”)

Best Independent Feature: “Nanny”

Best Animated Feature: “Wendell & Wild”

Best Documentary: “Sidney”

Best Ensemble: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Best Writing: Rian Johnson (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”)

Best International Feature: “Saint Omer”

Best Song: “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

Best Live Action Short: “We Cry Together”

Best Animated Short: “New Moon”


Impact Award: “Till”

The Innovator Award: Composer, Michael Abels (“Nope”)

Building Change Award, presented by Lowes: Production Designer, Hannah Beachler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

The Beacon Award: Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith (“Emancipation”)

The Ashley Boone Award: Producer, Nate Moore (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

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