Us (2019)
Us (2019)
Photo: Universal Pictures

The blackest group of critics are back with their picks for the best of the best during the 2019 movie season! That’s right, you don’t have to worry about our black excellence not being recognized (you know, since other folks have apparently lost their minds), because the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is back to kick off awards season 2020.

It’s been a hell of a year for black creators in the film industry and though there has been quite the competition, only one film can take the top prize. That film? Jordan Peele’s Us.

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Speaking of Peele, he will also take home the AAFCA honor for Best Director.

“Jordan Peele continued to raise the bar in horror specifically and film overall” AAFCA President and Co-Founder Gil Robertson said in a press release obtained by The Root. “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.”

Us isn’t finished racking up because Lupita Nyong’o will be honored as Best Actress. It’s certainly deserved as she effortlessly portrayed two opposing characters in the same film.

“Our Best Actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o put her craft in high gear by serving up double duty as both the lead protagonist and nemesis in Us. Already awed by her skill in previous films, Us just put her over the top,” Robertson continued. “Playing double duty allowed her to show even more range as an actor, putting her in an elite group of actresses who have helmed a successful box office film as the star. We are excited to see even more of her range in the future.”

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Eddie Murphy scored the Best Actor honor for his unforgettable comeback performance in Dolemite Is My Name.

“We are thrilled to honor legend Eddie Murphy as Best Actor for his amazing portrayal in Dolemite Is My Name, Robertson noted. “He is an icon whose genius has often gone unrewarded by ‘traditional’ media and we couldn’t be more pleased that he receives this honor while paying homage to Rudy Ray Moore, another icon.”

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In addition to honoring our folks every year, the AAFCA recently partnered with Deadline to showcase several events highlighting next-generation entertainment creative professionals in 2020.

The 11th AAFCA Awards will take place Jan. 22, 2020, at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, Calif. The complete list of winners and the Top Ten Films of 2019 chosen by the AAFCA are listed below: 

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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)

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.

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