Chadwick Boseman, Tessa Thompson, Yahya Abdul-Mateen are winners at the Critics Choice Association ‘Celebration of Black Cinema’

Tuesday evening, the Critics Choice Association streamed their 3rd annual Celebration of Black Cinema honoring some of this season’s most inspiring Black films, actors, producers, and directors.

The critics have spoken.

Among those honored at Tuesday night’s Critics Choice Association Celebration of Black Cinema, were Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Breakthrough Award, The Trial of the Chicago 7), Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, and Leslie Odom, Jr. (Ensemble Award, One Night in Miami).

The late Chadwick Boseman was a posthumous winner for Performance of the Year for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Andra Day (Special Honoree Award, The United States vs. Billie Holiday), Shaka King (Director Award, Judas and the Black Messiah), John Legend & Mike Jackson (Producers Award, Giving Voice), Delroy Lindo (Career Achievement Award, Da 5 Bloods), Tommie Smith (Social Justice Award, With Drawn Arms), Tessa Thompson (Actor Award, Sylvie’s Love), and Zendaya & John David Washington (NextGen Award, Malcolm & Marie) finished out the list of awardees.

In this screengrab, movie posters are seen at the Critics Choice Association’s Third Annual Celebration of Black Cinema on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)

The virtual event was produced by Stagedge with a captivating visual studio built by LiveCGI and EPIC Games Unreal Engine. An opening series of powerful photographs captured by filmmaker Tommy Oliver (40 Years A Prisoner, Black Love) during the 2020 protests in Los Angeles helped set the tone for the remainder of the night. 

Read More: Byron Allen honored with prestigious ‘Candle’ award from Morehouse College

With this new pre-recorded virtual platform, gone are the days of red carpet fashions and live impassioned acceptance speeches. However, some recipients — like Day, who donned a jewel-encrusted evening gown and loc updo in both her living room and on stage as she performed Holiday’s “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do” — brought the award gala swag into the comfort of their own homes.

In this screengrab, Andra Day accepts the Special Honoree Award at the Critics Choice Association’s Third Annual Celebration of Black Cinema on February 02, 2021. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for the Critics Choice Association)

One of the highlights of the evening was King, director of the upcoming Judas and the Black Messiah, who capped off his speech with a call to action to free “Sundiata Acoli, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the over 15 Black Panthers — now elders — who remain unjustly imprisoned or in exile.”

Another memorable moment was a behind-the-scenes story told by Ma Rainey director Wolfe who presented and accepted the posthumous Performance of the Year Award for Boseman, or “our Black Panther forever” as dubbed by the evening’s host Bevy Smith.

“I didn’t know this story at the time, but Dusan had said his nervousness took over,” Wolfe recalled of 17-year-old Ma Rainey actor Dusan Brown. “He was starting to freak out just as we were about ready to shoot him, and he said Chadwick pulled him aside and said ‘We are here for you. We are here to support you. This is your moment…’” Wolfe added. “That was Chadwick. He was so present not just as an actor, but he was present as a human being.”

According to a press release, “a special donation in Chadwick Boseman’s name will be designated to provide scholarships to students participating in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Gold Program.”

KTLA will air the 90-minute Celebration of Black Cinema special in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Feb. 6th, and over 40 cities across the country – affiliates including WGN, WPHL, KDAF, and KRON – will air a 60-minute special throughout the month of February. Check local listings for more details.

Read More: Issa Rae reflects on ‘Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl’: ‘It kind of had to be sh*tty’

Or, you can watch the entire show by clicking on the link below, which only lasts until end of the day on Thursday, Feb. 4.

Click here to watch now.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!