African American Film Critics Association Awards: 'Judas and the Black Messiah' Named Best Picture

'Judas and the Black Messiah'
Warner Bros. Pictures

'Judas and the Black Messiah'

Winners will be honored at a virtual event on April 7.

Judas and the Black Messiah took top honors from the African American Film Critics Association, the world's largest group of Black film critics.

The film was named best picture, with star Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor for his portrayal of Black Panther Party deputy chairman Fred Hampton and Dominique Fishback named best supporting actress for her role as Deborah Johnson, Hampton's fiancee and mother of his child. Helmer Shaka King also won breakout director.

“Serving alongside an all-Black producing team, Judas and the Black Messiah director Shaka King created a project that permanently enshrines pivotal Black Panther leader Fred Hampton as an American hero. Released against the backdrop of the present-day Black Lives Matter movement, the film's message of commitment and sacrifice to social justice is empowering,” AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson said in a statement. "Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton is literally on fire and is supported well by Dominique Fishback who increasingly has become an actress to watch. Our members are thrilled to award the film with our highest honor.”

One Night in Miami was honored with three awards: best director for Regina King, best screenplay for Kemp Powers and best ensemble.

Chadwick Boseman won the latest in a series of best actor accolades for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, with Andra Day named best actress for her work in The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

“Our best actress winner Andra Day was phenomenal as Billie Holiday,” Robertson said. "Director Lee Daniels has a terrific knack for bringing out the very best from his actors and Day is no exception as she delivered a performance that serves as an impressive launch to an acting career we feel has great promise. The members of AAFCA are excited to see even more of her range in the future. In Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Chadwick Boseman again showcased a great understanding and execution of the acting craft. In what is the final performance of his career, he confirmed why he will forever be considered one of the best actors of his generation. AAFCA is tremendously pleased to honor him for this extraordinary performance.”

A complete list of the 2021 AAFCA Award winners, which will be honored at a virtual event on April 7, follows.

Best Picture: Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Best Director: Regina King, One Night In Miami (Amazon Studios)
Best Actor: Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (Netflix)
Best Actress: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu)
Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Best Supporting Actress: Dominique Fishback, Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros.)
Best Screenplay: Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami (Amazon Studios)
Best Ensemble: One Night In Miami (Amazon Studios)
Best Foreign Film: Night of the Kings (Neon)
Best Documentary: All In: The Fight For Democracy (Amazon Studios)
Best Animation: Soul (Pixar/Disney)
Best Short Film: Two Distant Strangers
Breakout Performance: Radha Blank (Netflix)
Breakout Director: Shaka King (Warner Bros.)

The group — the membership of which spans the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe and Africa — also released its 10 best films of 2021, which follow:

1. Judas And The Black Messiah
2. One Night In Miami
3. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
4. Nomadland
5. Night Of The Kings
6. American Skin
7. Da 5 Bloods
8. Minari
9. Miss Juneteenth
10. The United States Vs. Billie Holiday

As for the top 10, Robertson said, "The common theme with all of our top 10 films this year is the grace of humanity. All of these films spotlighted different circumstances that put the human spirit to a test. During a year when COVID-19 forced everyone on this planet to unite against a common threat to our health and well-being, these films spoke to the resilience and courage we all possess to overcome challenging odds. The AAFCA members were deeply heartened and inspired by these amazing stories as we also look forward to a return to 'going to the movies' with our family and friends."