The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), the largest group of Black film critics in the world with members hailing from the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa, have chosen Jordan Peele’s “Us” as the top black film of 2019.
AAFCA, also chose Peele for Best Director and Lupita Nyong’o for Best Actress in the film that has so far brought in more than $255 million worldwide, the Association announced in a press release.
“Jordan Peele continued to raise the bar in horror specifically and film overall,” AAFCA President and Co-Founder Gil Robertson said in the announcement.
“Our Best Actress winner, Lupita Nyong’o put her craft in high gear by serving up double duty as both the lead protagonist and nemesis in “Us.’ Playing double duty allowed her to show even more range as an actor, putting her in an elite group of actresses who have helmed a successful box office film as the star.”
Eddie Murphy was also recognized as the organization’s Best Actor for his “amazing portrayal” in the Netflix movie “Dolemite Is My Name,”
“We are thrilled to honor legend Eddie Murphy as Best Actor,” Robertson said in the release. “He is an icon whose genius has often gone unrewarded by ‘traditional’ and we couldn’t be more pleased that he receives this honor while paying homage to Rudy Ray Moore, another icon.”
The top black films of 2019, as voted by association members via ballot, include:
1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)
Us is a 2019 American horror film written and directed by Jordan Peele, starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker.
A family’s serene beach vacation turns to chaos when their doppelgängers appear and begin to terrorize them.
2. “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
Dolemite Is My Name is a 2019 American biographical comedy film directed by Craig Brewer and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. The film stars Eddie Murphy as filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore and is the second best black movie of 2019.
Eddie Murphy portrays real-life legend Rudy Ray Moore, a comedy and rap pioneer who proved naysayers wrong when his hilarious, obscene, kung-fu fighting alter ego, Dolemite, became a 1970s Blaxploitation phenomenon.
3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Just Mercy is a 2019 American legal drama film directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, and starring Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, Rob Morgan, Tim Blake Nelson, Rafe Spall, and Brie Larson the movie is the 3rd best black movie of 2019.
Just mercy tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who with the help of young defense attorney Bryan Stevenson appeals his murder conviction.
4. “Clemency” (Neon)
Clemency is a 2019 American drama film written and directed by Chinonye Chukwu. It stars Alfre Woodard, Richard Schiff, Danielle Brooks, Michael O’Neill, Richard Gunn, Wendell Pierce and Aldis Hodge.
Bernadine Williams, a Death Row prison warden whose job has taken a psychological toll on her, must confront her demons when she has to execute another inmate.
5. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)
Queen & Slim is a 2019 American romantic drama film directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, from a story by James Frey and Waithe. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny, Flea, Sturgill Simpson and Indya Moore.
The plot follows two African-Americans who must go on the run after killing a police officer in self-defense during a traffic stop gone wrong.
6. “Waves” (A24)
Waves is a 2019 American drama film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. It stars Kelvin Harrison Jr., Lucas Hedges, Taylor Russell, Alexa Demie, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Sterling K. Brown.
The movie traces the journey of a suburban African American family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.
7. “Atlantics” (Netflix)
Atlantics is a 2019 internationally co-produced supernatural romantic drama film directed by Mati Diop, in her feature directorial debut. The movie was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. Diop made history when the film premiered at Cannes, becoming the first black woman to direct a film featured In Competition at the festival. At Cannes, the film won the Grand Prix. It was selected as the Senegalese entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards.
In Dakar, a group of construction workers abandon their work on a sky-scraper in response to months of withheld wages. The group then seeks better opportunities as they take to the sea. At the heart of the narrative are lovers Suleiman and Ada who must contend with Ada’s betrothal to another man.
8. “Harriet” (Focus Features)
Harriet is a 2019 American biographical film about slave-turned- abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Directed by Kasi Lemmons, who wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard, it stars Cynthia Erivo as Tubman, with Leslie Odom Jr., Joe Alwyn, and Janelle Monáe in supporting roles.
From her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told.
The AAFCA Awards ceremony will take place Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 at the Taglyan Complex, a banquet hall in Los Angeles. The awards are sponsored by Nissan, Morgan Stanley and Deadline.