Eddie Murphy will receive the Career Achievement Award, and Nia Long, Chiwetel Ejiofor and director Kasi Lemmons will also be honored December 2 at the Celebration of Black Cinema presented by the Critics Choice Association (formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association).
The event at the new Landmark Annex, part of the Landmark Theatre complex in Los Angeles, is designed to toast more than 100 years of black cinema and will be feting four individuals for their outstanding achievements in film in 2019, which is also the 100-year anniversary of The Homesteader from director Oscar Micheaux, credited by many as the first African American to make a feature-length film. He would go on to produce and/or direct another 44 films between 1919-1948.
Former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs will host the evening, which benefits the UCLA Film & Television Archive and its commitment to the preservation of cinema.
Murphy will receive the Career Achievement Award as a tribute to his extraordinary roles over the years. Recognized most recently for his brilliant portrayal of Rudy Ray Moore in Netflix’s Dolemite Is My Name, Murphy’s performance helps shed light on an era when black artists were pioneering newfound ways to reach black audiences and tell their own stories. Long will be honored for her performance as Eunice Garrett in Apple’s The Banker, a story about African Americans forging their own path to the American dream. Lemmons will be honored for her achievement in directing Focus Features’ Harriet, the first-ever feature film about runaway slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, starring Cynthia Erivo as the iconic freedom fighter. And Ejiofor will be honored for his feature film directorial and screenwriting debut and his performance in Netflix’s The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, a film based on a memoir by the Malawian engineer William Kamkwamba.
“The Critics Choice Association is thrilled to help celebrate a century of black cinema,” said CCA CEO Joey Berlin. “It is a privilege to honor Eddie Murphy, Kasi Lemmons, Nia Long, and Chiwetel Ejiofor for their remarkable work this year and throughout their careers. Each in their own way – through comedy and drama, in front of and behind the camera – exemplify the range and power of African American themed movies and their importance in popular culture.”