2016 has proved to be drastically different from the past two years where the focal point of ever conversation pertaining to film and television revolved around #OscarSoWhite.  The film/television industry still has a long way to go when it comes to diversity and inclusion; however, we can certainly recognize the fact that this year marks a historic year for Blacks in cinema.  Not only has the volume of films representing the Black experience increased, but the range of stories that were told surrounding Black life has been more diverse than ever.

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) released the top films and television shows of 2016.  The critics recognized Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight as its top picture (and best independent film) and Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar as its top show. Also receiving honors were the upcoming film Hidden Figures, Ruth Negga for her performance in the civil rights drama Loving, and DuVernay’s Netflix documentary on mass incarceration, 13th.

“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” said Shawn Edwards, AAFCA’s co-founder. “It was an exceptional year in terms of the quantity and quality of films about the black experience. And while this by no means solves the diversity issue in the film industry it was definitely refreshing to have such a wide range of exceptional work to choose from to honor and celebrate with our approval.”

There were several movies released this year that are considered masterpieces. However, it was Moonlight that dominated this year’s voting for the 8th AAFCA Awards. The independent film which chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami completely resonated with the majority of the members of the association. The A24 Pictures film earned multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor. Awards were also given to singer Janelle Monae for Breakout Performance. She delivered star-making performances this year in both Moonlight and Hidden Figures.  The top acting honors went to Denzel Washington and Ruth Negga for their roles in Fences and Loving. AAFCA will hold its 8th annual awards ceremony on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

“The number of incredible performances by black actors and actresses added to a very competitive field of performances and represents a step towards inclusion that our membership warmly embraces,” said Gil Robertson, AAFCA’s president and co-founder. “We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”

Please view below for the complete list of 2016 AAFCA Awards winners.

FILM

BEST PICTURE : MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST DIRECTOR: BARRY JENKINS, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ACTOR: DENZEL WASHINGTON, FENCES– (Paramount)

BEST ACTRESS: RUTH NEGA, LOVING – (Focus Features)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: MAHERSHALA ALI, MOONLIGHT – (A24)

BEST ENSEMBLE: THE Cast of HIDDEN FIGURES (20TH Century Fox)

BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE 2017 – Janelle Monae for MOONLIGHT AND HIDDEN FIGURES

BEST INDEPENDENT FILM: “MOONLIGHT” (A24)

BEST ANIMATION FILM; ZOOTOPIA (Disney)

BEST SONG – “VICTORY” from HIDDEN FIGURES (20th Century Fox)

BEST DOCUMENTARY – 13 (Netflix)

BEST FOREIGN FILM – TANNA (Lightyear Entertainment)

BEST SCREENPLAY – AUGUST WILSON, FENCES – (Paramount)

TV

BEST TV SHOW (Drama) – QUEEN SUGAR – OWM

BEST TV SHOW (Comedy) – ATLANTA – FX

BEST TV SHOW (CABLE/NEW MEDIA – UNDERGROUND – WGN

BEST TV SHOW (Special/Limited Series) – LEMONADE – HBO

AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

  1. MOONLIGHT – A24
  2. FENCES – Paramount
  3. HIDDEN FIGURES – 20th Century Fox
  4. LION – The Weinstein Company
  5. LALA LAND – Lionsgate
  6. BIRTH OF A NATION – Fox Searchlight
  7. LOVING – Focus Features
  8. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
  9. HELL OR HIGH WATER – CBS Films
  10. QUEEN OF KATWE – Disney

AAFCA Top Ten TV shows of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

  1. QUEEN SUGAR – OWN
  2. UNDERGROUND – WGN
  3. ATLANTA – FX
  4. INSECURE – HBO
  5. LUKE CAGE – NETFLIX
  6. THIS IS US – NBC
  7. BLACKISH – ABC
  8. THE GET DOWN – NETFLIX
  9. WESTWORLD – HBO
  10. SURVIVOR’S REMORSE – STARZ

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About The Author

Founder, HBR Media

K. Nicole Mills is the Founder of HBR Media. She transitioned from Wall Street to television and film development, and has worked at NBCUniversal, Universal Pictures, and Showtime Networks. She currently develops digital programming for premium networks. Reach out anytime! info@hbrmedia.org

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