‘The Harder They Fall’ Wins Top Prize at African American Film Critics Association Awards

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Jeymes Samuel’s “The Harder They Fall” and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard” have dominated the AAFCA Awards, which are given out annually by the African American Film Critics Association. The winners were announced on Monday morning, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, by the AAFCA.

“The Harder They Fall,” a Western with a largely Black cast, film was named 2021’s best film, and also picked up awards for its director, ensemble cast and music. “King Richard,” which is considered a stronger contender for Oscars and other awards, won honors for Will Smith, who stars as Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard; Aunjanue Ellis, who plays their mother, Oracene; Saniyya Sidney, who plays the young Venus; and Green in the Emerging Director category.

Other winners include actors Jennifer Hudson and Corey Hawkins for “Respect” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” respectively; the documentaries “Summer of Soul” and “Who We Are” as best documentary and best independent feature; and Adam McKay’s screenplay to “Don’t Look Up” as best screenplay.

Past winners of the AAFCA’s top award include “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Us,” “Black Panther,” “Get Out,” “Moonlight” and “Straight Outta Compton.” Four AAFCA winners – “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” “Crash,” “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight” – have gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

The AAFCA, which was founded in 2003, is made up of more than 90 black film critics. Its 2022 awards ceremony is scheduled to be a limited-capacity in-person event on March 2 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles,

The winners:

Best Picture: “The Harder They Fall”
Best Director: Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”)
Best Screenplay: “Don’t Look Up” (Adam McKay)
Best Actor: Will Smith (“King Richard”)
Best Actress: Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”)
Best Supporting Actor: Corey Hawkins (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)
Best Supporting Actress: Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)
Breakout Actor: Saniyya Sidney (“King Richard”)
Best Ensemble: “The Harder They Fall”
Emerging Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard”)
Best Music: “The Harder They Fall” (Jeymes Samuel, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z)
Best Independent Feature: “Who We Are”
Best Documentary: “Summer of Soul”