‘The Harder They Fall,’ ‘King Richard’ take honors at African American Film Critics Awards

Jonathan Majors and Delroy Lindo as cowboys with guns drawn in "The Harder They Fall."
Jonathan Majors and Delroy Lindo star in Netflix’s “The Harder They Fall,” which took four top prizes at the African American Film Critics Assn. Awards.
(David Lee / Netflix)
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The Harder They Fall” and “King Richard” topped the African American Film Critics Assn. Awards, the group announced today.

The Netflix western “The Harder They Fall” collected four awards, including picture and director (for Jeymes Samuel, who also co-wrote and co-produced). Samuel picked up another laurel, for music, along with collaborators Kid Cudi and Jay-Z. The film’s actors, including Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Regina King and Zazie Beetz, also enjoyed the ensemble prize.

King Richard” matched “Harder” shot for shot with four awards. Will Smith, considered a top contender in the lead actor category at this year’s Oscars, won for his memorable performance as the father of two of the greatest tennis players of all time, Venus and Serena Williams. His co-star, Aunjanue Ellis, also a top Oscar contender according to the Los Angeles Times’ BuzzMeter, won the organization’s supporting actress honor. The film also scored the breakout actor prize for Saniyya Sidney as nascent tennis powerhouse Venus Williams and the emerging director award for helmer Reinaldo Marcus Green (“Monsters and Men”).


In all, the two movies took eight of the 13 awards categories.

Jennifer Hudson, an Oscar winner for her turn in “Dreamgirls,” won the lead actress prize for playing the great Aretha Franklin in the biopic “Respect.” Corey Hawkins, who burst on the scene as Dr. Dre in “Straight Outta Compton,” won supporting actor for his role as Macduff, the primary antagonist to Denzel Washington’s bloody thane in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

Other winners included Adam McKay for his screenplay for the savage satire “Don’t Look Up”; “Who We Are” for independent feature; and Questlove’s “Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)” for top documentary.

The 13th year of winners will be celebrated on March 2 at the SLS Hotel in Los Angeles. African American Film Critics Assn. President and co-founder Gil Robertson said in a statement, “It’s been a fantastic year for film. Just having passed the two-year mark of a global pandemic, great entertainment means more to all of us than ever before. This year’s winners not only entertained us, but educated and inspired us and we’re looking forward to celebrating them at the AAFCA Awards.”

The complete list of winners:

Picture: “The Harder They Fall”

Director: Jeymes Samuel (“The Harder They Fall”)

Screenplay: “Don’t Look Up” (Adam McKay)

Actor: Will Smith (“King Richard”)

Actress: Jennifer Hudson (“Respect”)

Supporting actor: Corey Hawkins (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”)

Supporting actress: Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”)

Breakout actor: Saniyya Sidney (“King Richard”)

Ensemble: “The Harder They Fall”

Emerging director: Reinaldo Marcus Green (“King Richard”)

Music: “The Harder They Fall” (Jeymes Samuel, Kid Cudi, Jay-Z)

Independent feature: “Who We Are”

Documentary: “Summer of Soul”