American Black Film Festival Honors Announces Films of the Year

Michael B. Jordan in "Creed."
Michael B. Jordan in “Creed.”

Some of the most acclaimed films of last year–worryingly snubbed by the Academy Awards–will vie for the Film of the Year award at the 2016 American Black Film Festival Honors program.

“Beasts of No Nation,” “Chi-Raq,” “Concussion,” “Creed,” “Dope” and “Straight Outta Compton” received nods in the film category, as well as outstanding television programs that featured lead black actors or creators in a separate category.

Will Smith, whose film “Concussion” has been nominated, and director Spike Lee, whose “Chi-Raq” received a nod, have publicly announced that they have rescinded their invitations to attend the 88th annual Academy Awards, citing systematic problems in recognition and opportunity in Hollywood for people of color.

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ABFF Honors president Jeff Friday says actors will feel more “empowered if they were more committed to supporting one another, attending celebrations of their culture and relied less on mainstream validation of their work. I hope that the success of ABFF Honors will change things.”

Diahann Carroll will be honored with the Hollywood Legacy Award for her nearly 60 years in entertainment and groundbreaking achievements. She is the first black woman to receive a Tony Award (1962’s “No Strings”). In 1968’s “Julia” she became the first black woman to lead a TV series and not play a domestic worker. The role earned her a Golden Globe award and Emmy nomination. She earned an Academy Award nomination in 1974 for “Claudine.”

Winners will be announced during a ceremony hosted by Mike Epps on Feb. 21 at The Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

The nominees for film:

“Beasts of No Nation” (Netflix)

“Chi-Raq” (Amazon Studios, Roadside Attractions)

“Concussion” (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

“Creed” (Warner Bros. Entertainment)

“Dope” (Open Road Films)

“Straight Outta Compton” (Universal Pictures)

The nominees for television:

“Being Mary Jane” (BET)

“black-ish” (ABC)

“Empire” (FOX)

“How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

“Power” (STARZ)

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