Critics Choice Awards 2020: When They See Us Named Best Limited Series, Ava DuVernay Thanks Netflix Who ‘Let a Black Woman Do Her Thing’

Ava DuVernay (2nd L) and fellow cast and crew of ‘When They See Us’ accept the Best Limited Series award for ‘When They See Us’ onstage during the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards on Jan. 12, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif.
Photo: Kevin Winter (Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

So, in an effort to completely overwhelm me during an already overwhelming awards season (yes, this is about me!), the Critics Choice Awards decided to hold their ceremony the night before the Oscar nominations.

However, the Critics Choice Awards had more of one thing the Oscars lacked: color. The Critics Choice Award has a shit ton of categories, a good thing for creators of color who may otherwise get shut out of awards season. Since the Critics Choice Awards are considered among the major awards, this is noteworthy.


“Thank you to the critics for letting us finally take a stage,” began director Ava DuVernay, who executed the searing story of five young men of color wrongly accused, When They See Us, last year. That “finally” spoke to many fans of the series, including me, who believed the shut-out at the Golden Globes was unwarranted. DuVernay, who was completely gracious, gave a speech filled with love, inspiration, and joy as she accepted the monumental film she wrote, directed and produced.

“We made a four-part, five-hour film that was an act of love,” DuVernay continued. “A hundred and seventy-nine actors, one hundred and seventeen of them had speaking parts, three hundred and twelve members of the crew, my three co-writers, my comrades at ARRAY, my fellow producers at Participant, Tribeca, and Harpo and our great champions at Netflix who let a black woman do her thing, what can I say!”

Emmy winner Jharrel Jerome also received the Best Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Made For Television award.


Also, please note that When They See Us was not snubbed this morning by the Academy. It is a limited series, thus considered to be television, which isn’t eligible for an Oscar (solely dedicated to film).


Speaking of well-done projects that weren’t getting enough love this awards season, Dolemite Is My Name nabbed the Best Comedy award. Additionally, Eddie Murphy received the Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Keegan-Michael Key.

“Being able to make a living as an actor is a privilege and a blessing,” Murphy mused on stage as he accepted the acclaimed award.

Eddie Murphy, Lifetime Achievement, Critics Choice Awards 2020 / YouTube

Other black-ass winners include Us for Best Sci-Fi or Horror Movie award and Regina King getting her things for Watchmen (Best Actress In A Drama Series). Also, Live in Front of a Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All in the Family and The Jeffersons won for Best Comedy Special.


For the complete list of winners at the 2020 Critics Choice Awards, head to

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

About the author

Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.