Friday, January 10, 2014

African-American Film Critics Crown "12 Years a Slave" Best of 2013

by Amos Semien

The African-American Film Critics Association named director Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave the "Best Film" of 2013, with McQueen also receiving the "Best Director" prize.  Many other critics organizations have named Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o of 12 Years a Slave best actor and best supporting actress, respectively.  However, the AAFCA went with two of the cast members of Lee Daniels: The Butler as "Best Actor" (Forest Whitaker) and "Best Supporting Actor" (Oprah Winfrey).  I've included the text of the press release with which the AAFCA announced its 2013 film awards at the bottom of this post.

The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is a group of African-American film critics that give various awards for excellence in film at the end of each year.  The association was founded in 2003 by Gil L. Robertson IV and Shawn Edwards.

2013 African-American Film Critics Association Awards winners:

Best Actor                               Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels: The Butler (TWC)

Best Actress                            Sandra Bullock, Gravity (Warner Bros.)

Best Supporting Actress         Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels: The Butler (TWC)

Best Supporting Actor            Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club (Focus Features)

Best World Cinema                Mother of George (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Breakout Performance            Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Director                           Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Screenplay                      John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave (Fox Searchlight)

Best Music                              Raphael Sadiq, Black Nativity (RCA Inspirational)

Best Independent Film           Fruitvale Station (TWC)

Best Animation                       Frozen (Walt Disney Pictures)

Best Documentary                  American Promise (Rada Film Group)

The African-American Film Critics Association’s Top Ten Films of 2013 are as follows in order of distinction:

1. 12 Years a Slave

2. Lee Daniels: The Butler

3. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

4. American Hustle

5. Gravity

6. Fruitvale Station

7.  Dallas Buyers Club

8. Saving Mr. Banks

9. Out of the Furnace

10. 42


Press Release:


Forest Whitaker, Sandra Bullock, Oprah Winfrey and Jared Leto Also Receive Wins from the Nation’s Premiere African American Critics Group

Los Angeles, CA (December 13, 2013) – The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has named 12 Years a Slave as the Best Picture of 2013.  The Fox Searchlight film’s also earned Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Newcomer honors for Steve McQueen, John Ridley and Lupita Nyong’o. The organization, which represents the leading African-American film critics nationwide, will formally present its awards during a private ceremony on Friday, January 31, 2014 hosted by Orlando Jones at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

In the acting categories, Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for his performance in Lee Daniels: The Butler and Sandra Bullock was named Best Actress for Gravity. Oprah Winfrey received Best Supporting Actress 2013 for her role in The Butler and Jared Leto earned Best Supporting Actor 2013 for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club.

Rounding out the 2013 AAFCA Award winners are Fruitvale Station, for Best Independent Film, Frozen Best Animated Feature; Mother of George, for Best World Cinema and American Promise, from Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson.  Producer Raphael Saadiq won in the Best Music category for Black Nativity.

As previously announced, AAFCA’s Special Achievement honors will be awarded to AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, TWC’s Bob and Harvey Weinstein, FOX SEARCHLIGHT’s Zola Mashariki and DGA’s President Paris Barclay. AAFCA’s Inaugural Roger Ebert Award will be given to Justin Chang of Variety.  “The film industry reached an incredibly high benchmark in 2013 in terms of the level of performance and diversity on screen,” says AAFCA President and Founder, Gil Robertson. “From the dramatic and heartwarming performances given by Whitaker and Winfrey, to Jared Leto’s incredible transformation as a transgender, the performances this year represented some of the finest examples of the acting craft.”

The organization’s Top Ten list of films includes 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniels: The Butler, Gravity, American Hustle and Mandela.  “Hollywood did an excellent job in providing filmgoers with excellent examples of cinema that examine the core of the humanity. We hope this trend continues,” says AAFCA’s East Coast V.P. Daryle Lockhart, owner of Black Box

The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is the premiere organization of African-American film media professionals. Founded in 2003, AAFCA’s members represent a geographically diverse cross-section of media covering the cinematic arts. The organization honors excellence in cinema by creating awareness for films with universal appeal to black communities, while emphasizing film about the black experience and those produced written, directed and starring performers of African descent. The association actively reviews the quality and standard of black talent, content and media coverage. AAFCA also supports the development of future black film critics and filmmakers. AAFCA is based in Los Angeles.

END of release

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