Los Angeles, CA (December 13, 2013) – The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), has named “12 Years a Slave” as the Best Picture of 2013.  The Fox Searchlight film also earned Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Newcomer honors for Steve McQueen, John Ridley and Lupita Nyong’o. The organization, which represents the leading African-American film critics nationwide, will formally present its awards during a private ceremony hosted by actor Orlando Jones on Friday, January 31, 2014 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, CA.

In the acting categories, Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for his performance in “Lee Daniels: The Butler” and Sandra Bullock was named Best Actress for “Gravity”. Oprah Winfrey received Best Supporting Actress 2013 for her role in “The Butler” and Jared Leto earned Best Supporting Actor 2013 for his performance in “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Rounding out the 2013 AAFCA Award winners are “Fruitvale Station,” for Best Independent Film, “Frozen” for Best Animated Feature; “Mother of George,” for Best World Cinema and “American Promise,” from filmmakers Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson.  Producer Raphael Saadiq won in the Best Music category for “Black Nativity”.

As previously announced, AAFCA’s Special Achievement honors will be awarded to  AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, TWC’s Bob & Harvey Weinstein, FOX SEARCHLIGHT’s Zola Mashariki and DGA’s President Paris Barclay. AAFCA’s Inaugural Roger Ebert Award will be given to Justin Chang of Variety.

“The film industry reached an incredibly high benchmark in 2013 in terms of the level of performance and diversity on screen,” says AAFCA President and Founder, Gil Robertson. “From the dramatic and heartwarming performances given by Whitaker and Winfrey, to Jared Leto’s incredible transformation as a transgender, the performances this year represented some of the finest examples of the acting craft.”

The organization’s Top Ten list of films includes “12 Years a Slave,” “Lee Daniels: The Butler,” “Gravity,” “American Hustler” and “Mandela.” “Hollywood did an excellent job in providing filmgoers with excellent examples of cinema that examine the core of the humanity. We hope this trend continues,” says AAFCA’s East Coast V.P. Daryle Lockhart, owner of Black Box Office.com.

The African-American Film Critics Association’s Top Ten Films of 2013 are as follows in order of distinction:

1. “12 Years a Slave”
2. “Lee Daniels: The Butler”
3. “Mandela”
4. “American Hustler”
5. “Gravity”
6. “Fruitvale Station”
7.  “Dallas Buyers Club”
8. “Saving Mr. Banks”
9. “Out of the Furnace”
10. “42”

Best Actor
Forest Whitaker, “Lee Daniels: The Butler” (The Weinstein Company)

Best Actress
Sandra Bullock, “Gravity” (Warner Bros.)

Best Supporting Actress Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels: The Butler” (The Weinstein Company)

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” (Focus Features)

Best World Cinema
“Mother of George” (Oscilloscope Laboratories)

Breakout Performance
Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)

Best Director
Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)

Best Screenplay
John Ridley, “12 Years a Slave” (Fox Searchlight)

Best Music
Raphael Sadiq, “Black Nativity” (RCA Inspirational)

Best Independent Film
“Fruitvale Station” (The Weinstein Company)

Best Animation
“Frozen” (Walt Disney Pictures)

Best Documentary
“American Promise” (Rada Film Group)

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