AAFCA Awards 2017: Eight Most Memorable Moments

African-American, film, critics, awards
Photos by Sheri Determan

Samantha Ofole Prince
BURSTOUT Contributor

Covering television and film criticism, music journalism and celebrity news coverage, Samantha is often attending and covering backstage and red-carpet events including the Academy Awards, BET Awards, Grammy Awards, SAG Awards, Golden Globes, and Teen Choice Awards, as well as concerts, book signings, industry parties and movie premieres.

The 8th annual AAFCA awards – a.k.a. Hollywood’s black Oscars – took place at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Bigger, better and bolder, it was everything we’d come to expect from this prolific organization, which celebrates achievements in film and television. There were a plenty of applauses, several non-surprises, standing ovations, some witty commentary and grandiose speeches.

1. Last year was a historic year for black film with blacks excelling in all facets of film and television production. AAFCA’s Breakout Performance winner, Janelle Monáe, touched on the importance of her accolade with an impassioned speech, dedicating her award to the characters she portrayed in films “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight.”

Film, african-american, Shawn Edwards, Janelle Monae
AAFCA co-founder Shawn Edwards and Janelle Monáe - courtesy of AAFCA

2. Vanguard Award recipient, director Lee Daniels, made no qualms about his quest to tell stories of the black experience. "I just do what I do," said the "Empire" and Star" TV series helmer. "Often times I get in trouble for it, but I don't care. I care about one thing, which is telling stories that matter."

Lee Daniels, award, aafca, film
Acclaimed Director Lee Daniels with his Vanguard Award

3. Disney’s “Zootopia” co-director Byron Howard received the AAFCA award for Best Animated film of 2016 and shared insights on the making of the charming and delightful 3D animated film.

Zootopia, director, award, animated, film
Zootopia's co-director Byron Howard accepting the award for Best Animated film

4. Several standing ovations for “Moonlight” movie director Barry Jenkins who received a Best Director nod. The film, a firm favorite with AAFCA members, earned multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.

Moonlight, film, awards, AAFCA, Barry Jenkins
Star of 'Moonlight' Janelle Monáe with its director Barry Jenkins

5. A moving segment celebrating the 50th Anniversary release of the Stanley Kramer’s groundbreaking 1967 film “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and a deserving Inaugural Icon Award for its leading man Sidney Poitier.

6. Clips of the African American Film Critics Association's top 10 films of 2016, which included “Lion,” “The Birth of a Nation” and "Manchester By the Sea.”

7. Actor Demetrius Shipp Jr., introducing the trailer to the Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez On Me” to gasps and cheers from an appreciative audience on his uncanny resemblance to deceased rapper. The film releases in June.

8. A standing ovation for the engaging series “Queen Sugar,” which grabbed the top TV award of 2016.

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