The Black Film Critics Circle is the latest critics group to announce their list of their favorite films of 2011. The BFCC, whose stated objective is in part “to celebrate contributions and achievements in film by people of the black Diaspora who work in front of and behind the camera,” named The Help the best film of the year. The Help, a story about segregation-era racial tensions in the deep South, also won in four of the BFCC’s other twelve competitive categories, including Best Actress (Viola Davis), Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), Best Adapted Screenplay (Tate Taylor) and Best Ensemble.
Pariah, the story of a young black lesbian struggling with homophobia, also received a lot of love from the BFCC. The indie darling (and, incidentally, one of my most anticipated 2011 films I’ve yet to see) snagged prizes for Best Director (Dee Rees), Best Independent Film, best Original Screenplay (Rees again) and the “Rising Star” award for its young lead performer Adepero Oyude.
Other noteworthy winners included Albert Brooks for Drive, A Pioneer (lifetime achievement award) for entertainer and civil rights legend Harry Belafonte, and a special shout-out to the beloved yet under-seen Attack the Block for “not only by having a primarily black cast but portraying each character with a dignity seldom seen on screen and even more rarely in a Science-Fiction film.”
The complete list of Black Film Critics Circle winners is listed below (courtesy of the BFCC’s Official Website).BFCC’S Top Ten Films of 2011:
1. The Help
2. The Artist
5. The Descendants
6. Attack the Block
7. Tree of Life
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
BFCC Competitive Prizes:
Best Picture – The Help
Best Director – Dee Rees for Pariah
Best Actor – Olivier Litondo for The First Grader
Best Actress – Viola Davis for The Help
Best Supporting Actor – Albert Brooks for Drive
Best Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer for The Help
Best Independent Film – Pariah
Best Original Screenplay – Dee Rees for Pariah
Best Adapted Screenplay – Tate Taylor for The Help
Best Documentary – Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Best Foreign Film – Life, Above All
Best Animated Film – Rango
Best Ensemble – The Help
BFCC Signature Awards:
PIONEER – HARRY BELAFONTE
A renaissance artist who brought his unique talent to all areas of entertainment in a career that has spanned nearly 60 years, Belafonte is a multi-Grammy© winning artist, an Emmy© Award winner with the distinct designation as the first African American television producer, a Tony© Award winner, motion picture film actor and producer, Civil Rights Activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. From his music, films, and humanitarian work, Harry Belafonte has continued to embody the very essence of the word Pioneer.
RISING STAR – ADEPERO ODUYE
Adepero’s performance in Pariah is a moving, powerful unforgettable portrayal of a young woman of color coming to terms with herself, her sexuality, and her family. We believe she is truly a Talent to Watch.
SPECIAL MENTION – ATTACK THE BLOCK
Attack is a genre film that defies a number of conventions, not only by having a primarily black cast but portraying each character with a dignity seldom seen on screen and even more rarely in a Science-Fiction film.