The Critics Choice Association is finalizing the program for its 4th annual Celebration of Black Cinema & Television, announcing today a list of honorees that includes Will Smith, Ava DuVernay, Antoine Fuqua, Ruth Negga, Kenan Thompson, Robin Thede, Danielle Brooks and the cast of The Harder They Fall, among others.
In all, the program includes 16 award categories as a way to shine a spotlight on the “standout achievements of Black filmmaking and television,” per the CCA. One of those is new this year as DuVernay is posed to receive the inaugural Melvin Van Peebles Trailblazer Award. The iconic creative Peebles passed away on Sept. 21 and his son, Mario, will be on hand to present DuVernay with the honor which comes amid a busy slate of projects for the mogul including Colin in Black and White at Netflix, Queen Sugar at OWN and DMZ for HBO Max. She’s also shepherding releases and indie projects at her company, Array.
Smith is set to receive an actor prize for his starring role in Warner Bros. King Richard, which he also produced. The film comes out Nov. 19 and finds him starring as the father of legendary tennis players Venus and Serena Williams. Antoine Fuqua will also be welcomed to the podium as the veteran filmmaker is set to receive a director award for his work, including the recent Netflix title The Guilty starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, LaKeith Stanfield, Deon Cole, R.J. Cyler, Edi Gathegi and Danielle Deadwyler — aka the cast of Netflix’s The Harder They Fall — has been selected to receive the ensemble award for their work in the Jeymes Samuel-directed Western.
Ruth Negga, who stars opposite Tessa Thompson in Rebecca Hall’s Passing (also a Netflix title), has been confirmed to receive a special honoree award. The film follows a Black woman who finds her world upended when her life becomes intertwined with a former childhood friend who is passing as white.
On the TV side, Grammy Award-winner Danielle Brooks will receive an actress award for her role in the Lifetime movie Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia based on one of the most revered gospel singers in history, Mahalia Jackson. Meanwhile, Omar Sy will receive a similar prize for his small-screen work with the César Award-winning French actor being singled out for his critically-acclaimed turn in Netflix’s Lupin.
Robin Thede will receive a showrunner prize for her work on HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show, for which she serves as creator, executive producer, writer and star. Toheeb Jimoh will receive a breakthrough award for his role on the Emmy Award-winning, Apple TV+ series Ted Lasso on which he plays Nigerian footballer Sam Obisanya.
Emmy winner Kenan Thompson has been singled out to receive another special honoree prize for his work on Saturday Night Live. The comedian is the longest-serving cast member on NBC’s sketch series and he also saw the debut of his self-titled sitcom Kenan.
In the other honoree categories, Tony winner Patina Miller will receive an award for her starring role in the Starz series Power Book III: Raising Kanan, the third installment in the Power universe, and Natasha Rothwell will receive a trophy for her turn as Belinda Lindsey on HBO’s The White Lotus in addition to multi-hyphenate duties on Insecure.
The roster joins previously announced honorees Halle Berry, Anthony Anderson, Jennifer Hudson and Barry Jenkins. The awards ceremony is set for Dec. 6 with host Niecy Nash taking the stage live inside the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, making the event among the first to be held at the refurbished venue.