Reel Focus: Nissan Partners With African American Film Critics For Hollywood Award Show
Nissan was the official automobile sponsor of the 8th Annual AAFCA Awards, a celebration held by the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.
This year’s AAFCA Awards was hosted by “Entertainment Tonight’s” Nischelle Turner and saluted film legend Sidney Poitier and acclaimed director/producer Lee Daniels.
The night recognized AAFCA’s top 10 films of 2016, as well as expanded its honors by saluting outstanding diversity in television.
“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” said AAFCA President and Co-founder, Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our Top 10 Lists could have easily been number one. 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. We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”
The organization selected “Moonlight” as its top film of 2016. “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Lion,” “La La Land,” “The Birth of a Nation,” “Loving,” “Manchester By The Sea,” “Hell of High Water” and “Queen of Katwe” rounded out the top 10 in that order.
Among the other film recognitions, AAFCA awarded Best Actor to Denzel Washington (“Fences”); Best Actress to Ruth Negga (“Loving”); Best Supporting Actor to Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”); Best Supporting Actress to Viola Davis (“Fences”); Best Director to Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”); Best Breakout Performance to Janelle Monae (“Moonlight”/”Hidden Figures”); Best Ensemble to the cast of “Hidden Figures;” Best Independent Film to “Moonlight;” Best Animation Film to “Zootopia;” Best Documentary to “13;” Best Song to “I See Victory” by Pharrell Williams featuring Kim Burrell from “Hidden Figures;” Best Screenplay to August Wilson (“Fences”); and Best Foreign Film to “Tanna.”
AAFCA also touted “Queen Sugar” as Best TV Show (Drama); “Atlanta” for Best TV Show (Comedy); “Underground” for Best TV Show (Cable/New Media); and Beyonce’s “Lemonade” for Best TV Show (Special/Limited Series).
“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” said AAFCA Co-founder Shawn Edwards. “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.”
Among the presenters and celebrities in attendance included Joe Morton (“Scandal”), Sanaa Lathan (“Shots Fired”), filmmaker John Singleton, Wendy Raquel Robinson (“The Game”), Marcus Scribner (“Black-ish”), singer/actress Janelle Monae, Laz Alonso (“The Mysteries of Laura”), Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Stichers”), Alano Miller (“Underground”), Rhyon Nicole (“Surviving Compton”), Lou Diamond Phillips (“Longmire”), model/actress Eva Marcille, Stephen Bishop (“Being Mary Jane”), comedian Tommy Davidson, the cast of “Queen Sugar” and others.
Also on hand was Nissan’s director of Diversity and Inclusion for North America, Jeffrey Webster. Nissan had its GTR vehicle on display before you entered the Taglyan Complex. Nissan and its agency of record The Allen Lewis Agency (TALA) hosted several Influencers and media guests for the event.
Founded in 2003, AAFCA was given its name by former member/co-founder, entertainment journalist Karu F. Daniels. The collective of media professionals and film enthusiasts has evolved from the days of just servicing an annual ‘best of’ list at the end of the year. Now under the direction of its leader, author/public relations practitioner Robertson, AAFCA produces several high-profile events throughout the year, as well as supports the development of future black film critics and filmmakers.