Leading the list of honorees for the Critics Choice Association’s third annual Celebration of Black Cinema are Delroy Lindo receiving the Career Achievement Award, John Legend and Mike Jackson as Producers of the Year, Tessa Thompson winning the Actors Award, recent Emmy winner Yahya Abdul-Mateen II for the Breakthrough Award, Andra Day as a Special Honoree, and the cast of Amazon Studios’ One Night in Miami taking the Ensemble Award. The virtual ceremony will take place on Tuesday, February 2, and will be hosted by author and media personality Bevy Smith.
The event will also showcase a series of powerful photographs captured by Black filmmaker Tommy Oliver (40 Years a Prisoner, Black Love) around Los Angeles in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Oliver utilized his platform as a multi-hyphenate visual artist to channel the energy of the protests, seeking to inspire, incite, and challenge those who would see the final images.
The evening will benefit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Gold Program, an industry talent development, diversity and inclusion initiative to provide individuals, with a focus on underrepresented communities, access and resources to achieve their career pathways in filmmaking.
“The Critics Choice Association is thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize the work of these extraordinary artists in a year where the intersection of art and activism has never been more necessary,” said Executive Producer Shawn Edwards. “Each of our honorees personifies the greatness of Black cinema in 2020, and we are looking forward to a truly remarkable evening celebrating these achievements!”
Lindo, who has been winning acclaim on Lead Actor Oscar buzz for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, will receive The Career Achievement Award. His impactful performances include films such as The Cider House Rules, Heist, and he previously garnered critical acclaim in a trio of films with Lee, Clockers, Crooklyn, and Malcolm X. He’ll be seen next in the Netflix film, The Harder They Fall.
Legend and Jackson, alongside Ty Stiklorius, founded Get Lifted Film Co. Their current projects are the Netflix original movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey and the Netflix original documentary Giving Voice, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and features Legend’s original song “Never Break.”
Thompson will receive the Actors Award after earning critical acclaim as both star and executive producer of Amazon’s Christmas release film Sylvie’s Love, which debuted at Sundance. The period piece takes place in late ‘50’s Harlem and centers around two Black people falling in love while individually working to carve their own professional paths amidst many challenges.
Abdul-Mateen will receive the Breakthrough Award. Yahya most recently won an Emmy Award for his role as Cal Abar/Dr. Manhattan in HBO’s Watchmen. He can currently be seen amongst an all-star cast in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, in which he plays Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale.
Leslie Odom Jr., Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree and Aldis Hodge will receive The Ensemble Award for their work in One Night in Miami, the Amazon film for release this month, directed by award-winning actor/director Regina King, features the cast taking on four of the most well-known figures in history – Cassius Clay (Goree), Malcolm X (Ben-Adir), Jim Brown (Hodge), and Sam Cooke (Odom, Jr.) – to tell the story of a fateful night when all four gathered in a single hotel suite to celebrate Clay’s world heavyweight championship.
Day will be recognized with the Special Honoree Award for her work in Paramount’s early 2021 release The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day bares her soul as the iconic blues singer in the Lee Daniels-directed film, which dives into some of the deeper aspects of Holiday’s life when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics sought to punish her for singing political songs and integrating her audiences.
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