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Black Film Critics Group Says #OscarsSoWhite Will End – At Least for This Year

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in "Hidden Figures" (20th Century Fox)

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in “Hidden Figures” (20th Century Fox)

The next Oscars ceremony will be a Black affair, according to a Black film critics organization. After two years of #OscarsSoWhite, The African-American Film Critics Association revealed Monday that 2016 has been a stellar year for Black movies.

In a statement obtained by The Los Angeles Times, the AAFCA predicted that the 89th Academy Awards likely will recognize the many Black films of the year. As a result, the ceremony will have fewer white nominees than before.

“The studios and major film distributors really gave it to us this year,” organization co-founder and president Gil Robertson said. “By any measurement, it’s been an exceptional year for Blacks in film. From comedies to high-quality dramas and documentaries, 2016 will forever represent a bonanza year for Black cinema, and all cinema, really.”

The AAFCA cites several films and documentaries as potential Oscar contenders, “Hidden Figures,” starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, among them. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis’ “Fences,” as well as the upcoming film “Loving” and acclaimed “Moonlight” also are predicted to earn nods. The critically praised “13th,” directed by Ava DuVernay, and Raoul Peck’s upcoming James Baldwin documentary, “I Am Not Your Negro,” round out the list of likely award contenders.

Still, Robertson cautions that the Black-led movies vying for Oscars could just be a temporary phase.

“Unfortunately, the question that we must ask with every watershed year is, ‘How long will it last?'” he said. “Were the past 12 months an anomaly or does it signal the beginning of Hollywood being more committed to supporting a diverse lineup of Black films?”

Still, co-founder Shawn Edwards praised 2016 as “an unapologetically Black year in the industry.” He added, “Filmmakers brought to life some of the culture’s most fascinating stories and subjects with bold storytelling perspective.”

Black films that garnered attention weren’t limited to possible Oscar nominees, either. The success of Tyler Perry’s surprise hit, “Boo! A Madea Halloween,” as well as Kevin Hart’s “What Now?” and “Central Intelligence” proved audiences are still willing to shell out big bucks for less-than-high-brow fare. Sometimes, people just want a good laugh.

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