Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith to receive AAFCA’s Beacon Award

It’s a film that’s been largely ignored this award season. Beyond an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Motion Picture, there has been little recognition for Will Smith’s mesmerizing thriller “Emancipation,” which was inspired by the true story of the man known to historians as “whipped Peter.”

Emancipation’s Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua

The African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is set to change this and is honoring the film’s director Antoine Fuqua and star Will Smith with The Beacon Award.

“Emancipation” doesn’t shy away from the dark psychological mechanics of enslavement and tells the triumphant story of Peter (Will Smith), a man who escapes from slavery while being relentlessly pursued by cold-blooded hunters on his quest for freedom.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith attend Apple Original Films world premiere of Emancipation – photo by Eric Charbonneau

AAFCA, which is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year, will honor the duo at the 14th Annual AAFCA Awards ceremony. It will be held on March 1st in Beverly Hills.

Other honorees at the upcoming event include films “The Woman King,” “Till,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.”

Established in 2003, the Annual African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) is the premiere body of Black film critics in the world, actively reviewing film and television, with a particular emphasis on entertainment that includes the Black experience and storytellers from the African Diaspora.

Check out the list of AAFCA winners below:

Best Picture: “The Woman King”

Best Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”)

Best Actor: Jeremy Pope (“The Inspection”)

Best Actress: Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”)
Best Supporting Actor: Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”)
Best Supporting Actress: Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
Emerging Face: Jaylin Hall (“Till” & “Bruiser”)
Emerging Filmmaker: Carey Williams (“Emergency”)
Best Independent Feature: “Nanny”
Best Animated Feature: “Wendell & Wild”
Best Documentary: “Sidney”
Best Ensemble: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Best Writing: Rian Johnson (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”)
Best International Feature: “Saint Omer”
Best Song: “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
Best Live Action Short: “We Cry Together”
Best Animated Short: “New Moon”

Impact Award: “Till”
The Innovator Award, presented by Nissan: Composer, Michael Abels (“Nope”)
Building Change Award, presented by Lowes: Production Designer, Hannah Beachler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
The Beacon Award: Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith (“Emancipation”)
The Ashley Boone Award: Producer, Nate Moore (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

By Samantha Ofole-PrincePictured: Will Smith and Antoine Fuqua (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Apple)

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