Will Smith and Denzel Washington battle for Best Actor

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) nominations were revealed recently, and now the race to January 9, 2022 is in full swing. “Belfast” and “West Side Story” lead this year’s film contenders, earning eleven nominations each while two prominent Black actors vie for the Best Actor nod.

“Belfast” racked up numerous nominations with a Best Director, Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, and several acting trophies for its cast.  Steven Spielberg received a Best Director nomination for “West Side Story,” a film which also received nods in the acting, screenplay, cinematography, and design category.

Denzel Washington

Other Best Picture hopefuls include “Dune,” “The Power of the Dog,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley” and “King Richard” which earned its lead Will Smith a Best Actor nod. Smith will battle for that crown with Denzel Washington, who was also nominated for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

Actress Aunjanue Ellis who plays Oracene Price, mother of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams in “King Richard” received a Best Supporting nod for the film as well 15-year-old Saniyya Sidney who earned a Best Young Actor/Actress nod for playing Venus Williams.

Will Smith – courtesy of Royalty Images

Rebecca Hall’s Netflix drama “Passing” about two mixed-race women passing for white during the Harlem Renaissance failed to garner any acting nods for Tessa Thompson nor Ruth Negga. “The Harder They Fall” the revisionist Western film directed by Jeymes Samuel received 2 nods – a Best Acting Ensemble and Best Song.

The Critics Choice Association (CCA) is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of Academy Award nominations.

The winners will be revealed at the 27th annual show Critics Choice Awards gala which will be hosted by Taye Diggs and Nicole Byer and broadcast LIVE on The CW and TBS on Sunday, January 9 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET

By Samantha Ofole-Prince

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