Jordan Peele’s Get Out was the big winner at the 9th Annual African-American Film Critics Association Awards in Hollywood. The film won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor – Daniel Kaluuya, Best Screenplay and was voted top AAFCA film of 2017.
Peele took to the stage to accept the awards and told the audience that he’d go home, write and “smoke a little bit of weed.” He added, “It started out as a fun project, but I didn’t know it was ever going to get made.” Peele talked about writing the sunken place scene. “I knew that in some ways my movie was an allegory for slavery. I also knew it needed to take us on a ride because it’s horror.” Peele continued, “I wrote this scene in a very vulnerable state. I put my worst fears out there and onto the page and when I finished writing the scene, the experience of writing this movie changed. The sunken place to me, shouted to me, that in today’s time, we have black men and women abducted and put in dark holes. We have our freedoms taken away. I realized at that point that there were people being locked up and taken out of the world and taken from their families for holding lees weed than I was smoking while writing this movie.”
Peele also recalled one of his favorite audience reactions, recalling the time Chance The Rapper attended a screening. “He was there with some of his friends. You know there’s so much tension in the movie, so much stress to put the audience through. By the time he starts getting out, it’s cathartic. When he gores Bradley Whitford with those antlers, Chance and his friends just stood up, just ‘OH!’ They stood for the rest of the film.”
Director Amanda Lipitz had flown in from the East Coast to pick up the award for Best Documentary – Step and was catching the red-eye back to make a screening of the film. Lipitz said in her speech that even though she was the white lady who made the film, there was nothing black or white about her love for the movie and what it meant to receive the award for the film.
The cast of OWN’s Queen Sugar took to the stage to accept the award for Best TV Drama Series. Dawn-Lyen Gardner said, “I think the making of this show was so genuinely for our community.”
Ava DuVernay who was on the tail end of the flu received the Innovation Award thanked the AAFCA for supporting her from her first film. The Wrinkle in Time director said after making 13th, she had spent hours of looking at
Talking about the Storm Reid, DuVernay said the character is just a girl “with glasses in a plaid shirt who ends up saving herself, her family and the universe from darkness. It amplifies black life as opposed to the trauma of black life which I feel that we, as filmmakers have really addressed solidly on. It’s something that I did with 13th and Selma. There’s something about black joy and that’s really what I hope to capture with this. You can’t make a film about black girl magic if you don’t have a black girl who is magic. The answer to my prayers is Storm Reid and you’re going to be hearing about her for a long time.”
Frances McDormand was there to accept the award for Best Actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. “Let’s allow ourselves to elevate the stories that we are honoring tonight and put them a little bit higher and talk about dramatic literature. I got a taste of real fury playing Mildred Hayes, not anger which can be managed, but fury, white-hot fury that leaves ashes in its wake. What we know that maybe Mildred didn’t often out of ashes grow bright new shiny things that are stronger than before. What Mr. McDonaugh and what Mr. Peele know about humor is that it is a tonic for what ails us all. They tickle their audiences under the chin and then punch us in the gut. Watching their movies in a packed house is like being in a live theatrical event. Our collective moans and chortles make us a congregation. They unite us in the dark and they send us out on a better way.”
Rob Reiner was the recipient of the Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice took to the podium to talk about President Trump. “This has become the last battle of the Civil War. We are fighting it right now, but we’re going to win. We’re going to win. We thought we were on this glide path but we’ve been dragged back, but we’re going to win.” He said.