11th annual AAFCA Awards honor Matthew Cherry, Lupita Nyong’o and Eddie Murphy

Lil Rel Howery hosting the 11th annual AAFCA Awards (Credit: Gil Robertson)

The 11th annual AAFCA Awards was a star-studded event that honored Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy, Lupita Nyong’o and other luminaries. All the big names made sure to be there for a night of Black excellence.

Garcelle Beauvais, Sterling K. Brown, Clarence Avant, Tichina Arnold, Jon Platt, Lena Waithe, and honoree Foxx were among the heavy hitters at The African American Film Critics Association’s 11th Annual AAFCA Awards held on January 22 at Taglyan Cultural Complex in Hollywood, Calif. Actor-comedian Lil Rel Howery who has broken out in a major way hosted the good times.


Matthew A. Cherry, a first time Oscar nominee for his short film Hair Love, was shown love as Breakthrough Filmmaker. He noted the importance of our community honoring each other. He described the night as a “dream”.

Kenny Leon, one of the leading directors of Broadway, was awarded the Innovator Award during the ceremony.

Jordan Peele’s “Us” which grossed $255 million globally was awarded the Best Film. The director was also recognized for Best Director and Lupita Nyong’o highlighted for Best Actress. Gil Robertson, AAFCA President, and Co-Founder, explained to Deadline that Peele had raised the bar in film and horror.

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“With ‘Us,’ he once again upended the horror genre. His centering of a black nuclear family determined to survive in a complex storyline in a genre where black family units have historically been unseen is extraordinary,” Robertson said.

Murphy got AAFCA’s Best Actor honor for “Dolemite Is My Name” and Foxx was in the winning circle for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Just Mercy”. Da’Vine Joy Randolph earned Best Supporting Actress for Dolemite. The wide range of movies and performances selected reflected Robertson’s desire to showcase the full range of Black talent.

“This year’s (eleven) best films reflect a wide spectrum of diversity and creativity. Many of them tackle social injustice and challenge the criminal justice system in the United States specifically,” Robertson said.

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“AAFCA members, who put in their ballots from as far away as Australia and Jamaica, cast a wide net to recognize films made in the U.S. and beyond. Their choices truly reflect the best of cinema in 2019.”

The full list of winners is below.


Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures)

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon) | Atlantics (Netflix)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay Presented with The Black List: Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films 


  • “Us” (Universal Pictures)
  •  “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  • “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • “Clemency” (Neon)
  • “The Irishman” (Netflix)
  • “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
  • “Waves” (A24)
  • TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)
  • The Farewell (A24)
  •  “Harriet” (Focus Features)