On Tuesday night, the Critics Choice Association held their third annual Celebration of Black Cinema.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the virtual ceremony, hosted by Bevy Smith, honored a handful of influential actors, chief among them being Chadwick Boseman, who posthumously received the award for Performance of The Year. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom director George C. Wolfe accepted the award on behalf of Boseman’s family and reflected on the late actor’s artistry and spirit, saying in part:
“Chadwick Boseman was an amazing artist. We’ve all been thrilled, and excited, and overwhelmed by the depth of his work. He was so present, not just as an actor but he was present as a human being.”
Da 5 Bloods star Delroy Lindo also received deserved praise in the form of the evening’s Career Achievement Award. In his acceptance speech, Lindo highlighted the oft-untold stories of Black Vietnam veterans and his hope for more similar stories to be showcased in the mainstream. “Broadly speaking, the contributions of African-descendant people to world history have historically not been included,” Lindo explained. “So I accept this award in the spirit of inclusion and the fact that we are in a time, I hope, in which the importance of the contributions of Black people, African descendant people, the importance of those stories will come much more to the forefront and be included in the context of world history.”
Other big wins of the night went to Aldis Hodge, Eli Goree, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Leslie Odom, Jr., who received the Ensemble Award for their performances in the critically acclaimed and Regina King-directed One Night in Miami. John Legend and Mike Jackson took home the Producers Award, presented by Michael Ealy. Zendaya and her Malcolm and Marie co-star John David Washington received the Next Gen Award, while The United States vs Billie Holiday’s Andra Day and Sylvie’s Love star Tessa Thompson were honored with the Special Honoree award and Actor Award, respectively.
Thompson acknowledged the legacy and contributions of Black female actors who came before her in her acceptance speech and touched on the importance of telling Black stories in the current times. “This is a time when, once again, we are talking in this nation and globally about the value and dignity of Black life,” Thompson expressed. “And I believe that the stories that we tell about Blackness in this moment are even more resonant.”
Judas and the Black Messiah director Shaka King took home the Director Award, presented by Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya and Dominique Fishback. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II also received the Breakthrough Award for his portrayal of Bobby Seale in the Aaron Sorkin-directed Netflix film The Trial of the Chicago 7. Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith was also honored with the Social Justice Award, presented by activist and Grey’s Anatomy actor Jesse Williams. Smith’s historic moment at the 1968 Olympics was the focus of the new documentary from Glenn Kaino and Afshin Shahidi (father of Yara), With Drawn Arms.