Eddie Murphy is set to receive the Career Achievement Award from the Critics Choice Association as part of a celebration of black cinema, the awards group announced Tuesday.
Nia Long, Kasi Lemmons and Chiwetel Ejiofor will also be honored as part of a ceremony for the Celebration of Black Cinema on Monday, Dec. 2 at the new Landmark Annex as part of the Landmark Theatres complex in Los Angeles.
Murphy is being recognized following his work as blaxploitation film star Rudy Ray Moore in the film “Dolemite Is My Name,” which the Critics Choice Association says helps sheds light on an era when black artists were pioneering new-found 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,” which stars Cynthia Erivo as abolitionist Harriet Tubman. And Ejiofor will be honored for his film “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” in which he starred and made his feature directorial and screenwriting debut. The Netflix film is based on a memoir by the Malawian engineer William Kamkwamba.
“The Critics Choice Association is thrilled to help celebrate a century of black cinema,” CCA CEO Joey Berlin said in a statement. “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.”
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, former president of the Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will host the event. The evening will benefit the UCLA Film & Television Archive and its commitment to the preservation of cinema.
The Celebration of Black Cinema will pay homage to filmmaker Oscar Micheaux and those who came before, as well as celebrate more than 100 years of black cinema. Micheaux is credited by many as the first African American to make a feature length film – “The Homesteader” – in 1919. Over his illustrious career, he wrote, produced and directed 44 films between 1919 and 1948.