By Diane Haithman | February 16, 2021
The African American Film Critics Association will honor Mariah Carey, George C. Wolfe and Netflix with AAFCA’s 2021 Special Achievement Awards, the organization announced Tuesday.
AAFCA, the world’s largest Black film critics group with 90 members, also will bestow a Special Achievement Award on Amazon’s 2020 voter suppression documentary “All In: The Fight For Democracy,” directed by Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus, who also co-produced the film with activist Stacey Abrams. “All In” was honored with the Stanley Kramer Award for Social Justice.
“They all in some way embody excellence,” AAFCA CEO and president Gil Robertson told TheWrap. “The Special Achievement Award is meant to be a shout out to the body of work vs. the particular performance.”
Carey is often recognized for singing, Robertson said, but rarely celebrated for the visual storytelling in her music videos and television specials. Wolfe, best known as a theater director, has also brought his directing talents to the screen, most recently as director of Netflix’ screen version of the August Wilson play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman.
According to an AAFCA statement Netflix received its awards for fostering a global tribe rooted in bringing all people together across various languages and continents through the power of cinema.” “We couldn’t be happier to recognize Netflix during the pandemic,” Robertson said. “They truly shined with a robust and diverse lineup of offerings that quite frankly saved a lot of people from having a breakdown when we just didn’t know what was going on.”
Previous Special Achievement honorees include Channing Dungey, Carl Reiner, Quincy Jones, Edward James Olmos, George Lucas and Cicely Tyson, among many others.
The AAFCA recently teamed up with Comcast NBCUniversal to launch Black Experience Channel on XFinity. The channel, a destination for Black entertainment, movies and news, launched on Feb. 1. Black Experience features content from many of XFinity’s existing network partners at no additional cost. According to a statement, Black Experience also is investing millions of dollars in emerging Black content creators and is the only channel of its kind endorsed by the AAFCA.
AAFCA is celebrating Black History Month with “Breaking Barriers in Comedy: A Celebration of Black Television,” in partnership with the Television Academy, and “Black Identity Through Cinema” with American Cinematheque.
The 12th Annual AAFC Awards will take place on April 7.