‘Moonlight,’ ‘Queen Sugar,’ ‘13th’ and ‘Lemonade’ receive top honors from black film critics

AAFCA winners
Clockwise from top left: Angela Davis from Ava DuVernay’s “13th"; Alex Hibbert and Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight"; Beyoncé in “Lemonade"; and Kofi Siriboe, left, Angela Bordelon and Rutina Wesley in “Queen Sugar.”
(Netflix / David Bornfriend/A24 / Parkwood Entertainment / Skip Bolen/OWN)

The African American Film Critics Assn. announced Monday its honors for the best in film and television of the year. The critics recognized Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” as its top picture (and best independent film) and Ava DuVernay’s “Queen Sugar” as its top show. Also receiving honors were Beyonce’s self-titled film-album “Lemonade” and DuVernay’s Netflix documentary on mass incarceration, “13th.” 

“Our members had a plethora of outstanding movies, documentaries and TV shows to choose from this year,” said Shawn Edwards, AAFCA’s co-founder. “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.”

The national organization of black entertainment critics, in operation since 2003, will hold its eighth annual AAFCA Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 9 to formally award those recognized. The event is expected to be a landmark one, especially considering the group dubbed 2016 the best year ever for blacks in film. 

“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,” said Gil Robertson, AAFCA’s president and co-founder. “We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”


Check out the full list of AAFCA winners below:


Best picture: “Moonlight”

Director: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”

Lead actor: Denzel Washington, “Fences”


Lead actress: Ruth Negga, “Loving”

Supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Fences”

Ensemble: “Hidden Figures”

Breakout performance: Janelle Monae, “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures”

Independent film: “Moonlight”

Animated film: “Zootopia”

Song: “Victory” from “Hidden Figures”


Documentary: “13th”

Foreign film: “Tanna”

Screenplay: August Wilson, “Fences”

Top 10 Films of 2016 in order of distinction: 

  1. “Moonlight”
  2.  “Fences”
  3. “Hidden Figures”
  4. “Lion”
  5. “La La Land”
  6. “Birth of a Nation”
  7. “Loving”
  8. “Manchester by the Sea”
  9. “Hell or High Water”
  10. “Queen of Katwe”


Drama: ”Queen Sugar”

Comedy: ”Atlanta”

Cable/new media: ”Underground”

Special/limited series: ”Lemonade”


Top 10 TV shows of 2016 in order of distinction:

  1. “Queen Sugar”
  2. “Underground”
  3. “Atlanta”
  4. “Insecure”
  5. “Luke Cage”
  6. “This Is Us”
  7. “black-ish”
  8. “The Get Down”
  9. “Westworld”
  10. “Survivor’s Remorse”

Get your life! Follow me on Twitter: @TrevellAnderson.

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