Black Film Critics Predict End of #OscarsSoWhite, Say 2016 is Best Year Ever for Black People in Film

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Denzel Washington and Viola Davis play Troy and Rose Maxson in "Fences." (David Lee / Paramount Pictures)

Reprinted from The Los Angeles Times by Tre’vell Anderson on November 28, 2016.

The African American Film Critics Association released a statement Monday naming 2016 the best year ever for black people in cinema. The national organization also predicted an end, albeit potentially temporary, to #OscarsSoWhite.

“The studios and major film distributors really gave it to us this year,” said Gil Robertson, AAFCA’s co-founder and president. “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.”

Black films in 2016 have ran the gamut from comedies and romantic thrillers to dramas and documentaries. On the comedy front, Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson anchored box office successes Ride Along 2, Barbershop: The Next Cut and Central Intelligence. Additionally, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween became a surprise hit. This year also saw the solidifying of the black romantic thriller as a bona-fide sub genre with When the Bough Breaks.

As for dramas, the forthcoming “Fences,” starring Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, and Hidden Figures, with Taraji Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer, join Loving and Moonlight as serious awards season contenders — each almost guaranteeing nominations for at least one of its stars. …

LA Times 11/28

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Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at

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