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And ACTION! Black Film Critics Share Critics Choice Awards Predictions, Shocks & Snubs

This year’s nominations are lead by Everything Everywhere All at Once with 14 nods, with The Fablemans following behind it with 11 and Damien Chazelle’s Babylon and Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin coming behind with nine.

Award season has fallen upon us, and if you’re in the entertainment industry, this is the big moment we’ve all been waiting for. Don’t worry, clutching your pearls and biting your nails are totally normal behavior. On Dec. 14, the Critics Choice Association named the film nominees for the 2023 Critics Choice Awards, with the television nominees being announced a week prior. Record-breaking TV newcomer Abbott Elementary led the nominations pack with six nods including Best Comedy Series, while acclaimed A24 film Everything Everywhere All at Once led all nominees with 14 nods total.

“We are so proud to be recognizing this incredible group of films and the people who made them possible,” read an official statement by Critics Choice Association CEO Joey Berlin. “This recognition comes from a diverse group of more than 600 critics and entertainment reporters who share their opinions about film and television with millions of people every day, all year long. Our collective opinion about the year’s finest achievements is truly meaningful to the creative community.”

The term diverse jumps out especially — but what does this all mean to the folks and audience who are the definition of what diversity and inclusion should mean in entertainment?

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From Quinta Brunson’s Abbott Elementary and the Zendaya-led Euphoria to the tear-jerking TILL and highly-anticipated release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, there’s no argument that this has been a strong year for Black people in television and film. Earning award nominations left and right, breaking streaming records on platforms, and making blockbuster history are all part of a casual day’s work for the powerful changemakers of color in entertainment.

However, though we’ve come so far, this all doesn’t take away from the fact that we have so far to go — especially related to the recognition and dignity that comes with having a seat at the table we’ve so rightfully earned.

Ahead, Black film critics, journalists, and reporters shared their first thoughts, impressions, and predictions for the Chelsea Handler-hosted 28th annual Critics Choice Awards, which will air on The CW on Jan. 15, 2023.

Creator: Prashant Gupta | Credit: ABC

Initial Impressions

Across the board, most Black journalists and critics found this year’s nominations to be more inclusive than in previous years. “Upon seeing the nominations, I thought they were more well-rounded than expected,” film critic and entertainment editor Aramide Tinubu noted to Boardroom. “I was honestly bracing myself for the nominations to mirror the Golden Globes, which really dropped the ball considering it’s their revival year, but I was surprised to see a bit more diversity than expected.”

Similarly, Shadow & Act Managing Editor Trey Mangum acknowledged the diversity demonstrated within this year’s nods — but the predictability was a bit lackluster. “I thought a lot of the nominees were choices I saw coming, but I was surprised that there were not a lot of ‘out there’ nominations,” he said. “Most choices seemed on par and I would have liked to see bigger swings taken, like the NYFCC recently awarding Keke Palmer in NOPE.”

For The Root’s Entertainment Writer Shanelle Genai, the representation — or lack thereof — of Black women in categories for which they rightfully earned a spot in was a disappointment. “Given the myriad of phenomenal performances from actresses like Danai Gurira and Letitia Wright (Wakanda Forever), Regina Hall (Honk for Jesus), Gabrielle Union (The Inspection), Keke Palmer (NOPE), and Anna Diop (Nanny) — to not see them get the recognition they deserve is a huge miss,” Genai told Boardroom.

Credit: ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

Critics Choice Snubs

According to Mangum, the Critics Choice Awards failed to recognize the work, grit, and talent of a few Black women both off and on-screen.

“I think that The Woman King could have gotten a lot more love down the ballot, especially in Supporting Actress. Viola Davis was a sure bet for Best Actress and Gina Prince-Bythewood would surely have fit in such a larger pool of director nominees, but for it to not get a Best Picture nom was a real snub,” Mangum told Boardroom. “Also, its two strong supporting performances in Thuso Mbedu and Lashana Lynch definitely could have shown up here, but haven’t seen a lot of nominations with regional critic groups.” He continued to share his shock that Jeremy Pope’s performance in The Inspection was not up for grabs, as it was for his Golden Globes nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama.

Tinubu dialed back into the conversation to share her thoughts on this year’s nomination snubs, including mother-to-be and millennial diva Keke Palmer.

TILL more than earned a Best Picture nomination, especially over some of the other films in the category,” she added about the Whoopi Goldberg-produced film that earned a Critics Choice Awards nod for Best Actress (Danielle Deadwyler) and Best Young Actor (Jalyn Hall). “Also, I believe that Keke Palmer and Gabrielle Union should have been in the running for Best Supporting Actress in their roles for Nope and The Inspection, respectively.”

She also noted that Ryan Coogler’s snub for Best Director was hard to miss, especially considering not only “what he was up against,” but his fearless and impactful delivery in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Viola Davis and Thuso Mbedu star in The Woman King. Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Shocks, Surprises, & Wild Cards

Babylon is a relatively recent screening for a lot of critics so it was always interesting to see how that would perform, as well as Avatar: The Way of Water, which is not only a recent release, but one that is a ‘big’ choice to make,” Mangum shared with Boardroom regarding those global releases and the awards buzz that came with them. “Top Gun: Maverick has had that one franchise, big-budget slot locked down for a while, so it was interesting to see Avatar join the fray as well — but of course, it’s James Cameron.”

For Insider’s Senior Entertainment Reporter Keyaira Boone, Catherine Called Birdy was “unexpected,” but one of her biggest shocks was a lack of attention on Regina Hall for her outstanding performance in Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul. alongside Sterling K. Brown.

“Superheroes, tireless activists, and warrior queens are important but so are average women. This character reflected contemporary Christian women and their struggle to balance their commitment to their faith with their desire to lead full, authentic lives and I would have liked to see that kind of exploration celebrated more,” Boone said. She also mentioned how the role proved Hall’s effortless range of acting since her role in 1999’s The Best Man.

Photo courtesy of Steve Swisher

Final Critics Choice Awards Predictions

As a final note, Boone has no doubt in her mind that Ruth E. Carter will take home Best Costume for her work in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, while Mangum turned his attention towards the bigger picture for film known as another huge night in motion pictures. “I think that RRR is gaining a lot of steam right now, and that how it performs at CCA could signal something for the Oscars,” he said. “Though Colin Farrell is buzzy for The Banshees of Inisherin right now, I see [Austin] Butler still looking strong for Best Actor and Deadwyler or [Cate] Blanchett for Best Actress. Best Picture could go any which way, but the story of 2022 has honestly been Everything Everywhere All At Once.

In the vein of Butler’s starring performance in Elvis, Tinubu shared her thoughts on the various reviews that the movie has received since its premiere. “Avatar: The Way of Water, Babylon, and Elvis was the biggest wildcards for me. Babylon and Elvis were both really polarizing to critics,” she said.

“In the words of Issa Rae, I’m rooting for everybody Black, so hopefully, we get some wins for the culture,” Genai said powerfully to Boardroom.

The 28th annual Critics Choice Awards will be broadcast live on The CW on Jan. 15, 2023. For the full list of film nominees, click here for film and click here for television.

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About The Author
D'Shonda Brown
D'Shonda Brown
D'Shonda Brown is the Music and Entertainment Editor at Boardroom. Prior to joining the Boardroom team, she served as the Associate Editor at ESSENCE and Girls United, ESSENCE's Generation Z platform. Through the years, the Spelman College graduate has amassed bylines in entertainment, fashion, beauty, wellness, and business across For(bes) The Culture, HYPEBAE, Byrdie, HighSnobiety, xoNecole, REVOLT, and more.