We've Got Hollywood Covered

Deon Taylor, Kenny Leon, Sherry Lansing to Receive Special Achievement Awards From African American Film Critics

Other honorees include Richard Roeper, Clarence Avant, Niija Kukendall and Matthew Cherry

Filmmakers Deon Taylor, Kenny Leon and former Paramount Pictures chair Sherry Lansing are among the honorees set to receive special achievement awards from the African American Film Critics Association, the AAFCA announced Tuesday.

Film critic Richard Roeper, music executive Clarence Avant, Warner Bros. executive Niija Kuykendall and filmmaker Matthew Cherry are also among the honorees set to receive awards at the 2020 AAFCA Special Achievement Awards Luncheon. The ceremony will be held on April 11, 2020 at the Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.

“AAFCA Special Achievement Awards are given to individuals whose careers have impacted the entertainment industry,” Gil Robertson, AAFCA co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. “They include a mix of individuals from various corners of the industry who have distinguished themselves in their work, making a powerful and wide-reaching impact. Many of them we celebrate for their long-term contributions while others are emerging figures who, in a relatively short time, have made immediate contributions while foreshadowing the promise of greater things to come.”

Avant, the music executive who was recently the subject of the Netflix documentary “The Black Godfather,” will receive the Game Changer Award for his behind the scenes generosity and power moves that rippled across the entertainment industry.

Lansing will receive the Legacy Award for both her trailblazing career as the rare female studio head as well as her philanthropy work through her eponymous foundation.

Roeper will receive the Roger Ebert Award, named after his longtime “At the Movies” co-host,” and Ebert’s wife, Chaz Ebert, will present Roeper with the prize.

Kuykendall will receive the Ashley Boone Award for her track record and promise in the entertainment industry.

Cherry, the director of the animated short film “Hair Love” and a producer on “BlacKkKlansman,” will receive the Breakout Filmmaker award. Deon Taylor will be honored as the Horizon Award honoree for his string of films that includes “The Intruder” and “Black and Blue.” And Leon, the director of the Netflix adaptation of the Kerry Washington play “American Son,” will receive the Nissan Innovator Award for his contributions to Broadway and the big and small screens.

The National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP) will receive AAFCA’s Salute To Excellence Award in recognition of its work to maximize diversity and inclusion for creators of color across the spectrum of entertainment over the last 20 years.

Past Special Achievement Awards honorees include Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, current Netflix and former Disney executive Tendo Nagenda, actor-activist Edward James Olmos and more.

“Like previous recipients, members of our 2020 class of honorees have demonstrated the highest standards of excellence in their respective spheres while also creating spaces that have allowed others who follow to reach even greater heights. We look forward to welcoming them to the AAFCA circle of excellence in April,” Robertson said in a statement.

Previously the Special Achievement Awards have typically taken place the weekend prior to the AAFCA Awards, the organization’s tentpole gala that will take place on Jan. 22, 2020 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. However, due to the truncated awards calendar, the luncheon has been pushed to April 11.