Will Smith leads the final list of honorees for the Critics Choice Association’s fourth annual Celebration of Black Cinema & Television. Smith, who is winning widespread acclaim for his role in Warner Bros. upcoming King Richard as the domineering father of Serena and Venus Williams and their tennis dynasty, has been chosen to receive the Actor award. The two-time Oscar nominee is also expected to be a major factor at the Academy Awards for this performance. Jennifer Hudson was previously announced as the recipient of the Actress Award for her role as Aretha Franklin in Respect.
The event, hosted by Emmy Award-winning actress and producer Niecy Nash (“Claws,” “When They See Us”) will include 16 award categories as part of a star-studded night honoring standout achievements in Black filmmaking and television.
Also newly announced today:
Award winning writer, director, producer and film distributor Ava DuVernay will be receiving the inaugural Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award, named for the filmmaker who died in September. Her slate of current projects includes the narrative film adaptation of the bestselling book Caste for Netflix, along with television projects Colin in Black and White and Wings of Fire for Netflix, Home Sweet Home for NBC, Queen Sugar and Cherish the Day for OWN, and DMZ and One Perfect Shot for HBO Max.
“We are truly honored to name our prestigious Trailblazer Award after Melvin Van Peebles,” said Shawn Edwards, CCA Board Member and Executive Producer of the Celebration of Black Cinema & Television. “Van Peebles inspired a generation of filmmakers. He was a true maverick and a visionary cinematic genius. We’re thrilled that Melvin’s son, Mario will be presenting the award to Ava DuVernay, as the first recipient of the Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award.”
Antoine Fuqua, whose latest film The Guilty stars Jake Gyllenhaal and is currently running on Netflix, will receive the Director honor. Also from the Netflix camp, the cast of the new western The Harder They Fall will receive the Ensemble Award. They include Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, LeKeith Stanfield, Deon Cole, R.J. Cyler, Edi Gathegi and Danielle Deadwyler.
Ruth Negga will receive a Special Honoree award for her role in yet another current Netflix film Passing.
Television projects have been added to the ceremony for the first time this year. Those honorees include Danielle Brooks receiving the Actress Award for the Lifetime movie Robin Roberts Presents Mahalia, and Omar Sy will receive the Actor Award for his Netflix series Lupin.
Robin Thede gets the Showrunner Award for HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show. Toheeb Jimoh is being recognized with the Breakthrough honor for his role as Sam in Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso. SNL veteran Kenan Thompson, Power Book III: Raising Kanan star Patina Miller, and breakout The White Lotus star Natasha Rothwell are all slated to receive Special Honoree awards.
In addition to Hudson, also previously announced were Halle Berry who will receive the Career Achievement Award, Anthony Anderson who will receive the Producer Award for Television, and Barry Jenkins who will receive the Director Award for Television.
The live in person event will take place on Monday December 6 at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel.
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