Lee Daniels

Lee Daniels at the AAFCA Awards in Hollywood, Feb 8, 2017

*Movies, documentaries and TV shows about the black experience were in abundance in 2016 making it a truly historic year in terms of the number of movies, documentaries and TV shows released and number of blacks represented in front and behind the camera.

AAFCA held its 8th annual awards ceremony on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

Those in attendance included host Nischelle Turner, Janelle Monae (Breakout Star Award Recipient), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight Director) Lee Daniels (Vanguard Award Recipient), John Singleton, Kimberly Steward (producer, “Manchester By The Sea”), Queen Sugar Cast (Dawn Lyen-Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dondre Whitfield), Sanaa Lathan (Shots Fired), Alano Miller (Underground), DeWanda Wise (Shots Fired), director Anthony Hemingway (Underground Director),

Sheryl Lee Ralph, Jovan Adepo (Fences), Joe Morton (Scandal), Tommy Davidson, Anna Marie Horsford, Demetrius Shipp Jr. (All Eyez On Me), Laz Alonso, Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Game), Aisha Hinds (Underground), Misha Green (Underground Creator), Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Eva Marcille, Rhyon Nicole (Surviving Compton), Marcus Scribner (Black-ish), Kendrick Sampson (How To Get Away With Murder), Neil Brown Jr. (Insecure), Lou Diamond Phillips, Karen Sharpe, Kat Kramer (Miss Golden Globe) and more.

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

There were several movies released last year that are considered masterpieces. However, it was “Moonlight” that dominated this year’s voting for the 8th AAFCA Awards. The independent film which chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami completely resonated with the majority of the members of the association. The A24 Pictures film earned multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor. Awards were also given to singer/actress Janelle Monae for Best Breakout Performance. She delivered star-making performances this year in both “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures.” The top acting honors went to Denzel Washington and Ruth Negga for their roles in Fences and Loving.

“2016 provided our membership with many great films to choose from,” says AAFCA President and Co-founder, Gil Robertson. “Every movie and TV show on our Top 10 Lists could have easily been number one. 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. We look forward to what 2017 has in store.”

The following is a complete list of 2016 AAFCA Awards winners. 


Best Picture: Moonlight – (A24)

Best Doirector: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight – (A24)

Best Actor: Denzel Washington, Fences – (Paramount)

Best Actress: Ruth Nega, Loving  – (Focus Features)

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight  – (A24)

Best Ensemble: The Cast of Hidden Figures  (20TH Century Fox)

Breakout Performance  2017 – Janelle Monae for Moonlight and Hidden Figures 

Best Independent Film: Moonlight (A24)

Best Animation Film: Zootopia  (Disney)

Best Song – “Victory” from Hidden Figures  (20th Century Fox)

Best documentary– 13 (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film – Tanna  (Lightyear Entertainment) 

Best Screenplay – August Wilson, Fences– (Paramount)


Best TV Show (Drama) – Queen Sugar  – OWN

Best TV Show (Comedy) – Atlanta – FX

Best TV Show (Cable/New Media – Underground– WGN America

Best TV Show (Special/Limited Series) – Lemonade  – HBO


AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:

 1.    Moonlight  – A24

2.     Fences  – Paramount

3.     Hidden Figures  – 20th Century Fox

4.     Lion – The Weinstein Company

5.     Lala Land  – Lionsgate

6.     Birth of a Nation  – Fox Searchlight

7.     Loving – Focus Features

8.     Manchester by the Sea  – Amazon Studios / Roadside Attractions

9.     Hell or Hight Water  – CBS Films

10.  Queen of Katwe  – Disney

AAFCA Top Ten TV shows of 2016 are as follows in order of distinction:


1.      Queen Sugar  – OWN

2.     Underground  – WGN America

3.     Atlanta – FX

4.     Insecure – HBO

5.     Luke Cage – Netflix

6.     This is Us– NBC

7.     Blackish– ABC

8.     The Get Down – Netflix

9.     Westworld– HBO

10.  Survivor’s Remorse – Starz

queen sugar, omar j. dorsey, tina lifford, aafca awards, african american film critics association

Cast of ‘Queen Sugar’
L-R: Omar J. Dorsey, Tina Lifford, Dawn-Lyen Gardner, Timon Kyle Durrett, Dondre Whitfield

Janelle Monae, AAFCA

Janelle Monae

Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkins

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Gil Robertson
[email protected]