The Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema and Television Honoring Black, Latino, and AAPI Achievements in 2023

The Critics Choice Association’s Celebration of Cinema and Television honoring Black, Latino, and AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) achievements occurred at the Fairmont Century Plaza this past Monday evening, Dec. 4, 2023, in Los Angeles, California. The celebration is typically a lively and joyous occasion, and this year was especially so due to combining several celebrations. There were smiles aplenty on the Red Carpet as presenters and honorees talked with journalists about their projects and appreciation for the event.

Colman Domingo, Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Edward James Olmos, Lenny Kravitz, Eva Longoria, Jeffery Wright, America Ferrera, Charles D. King, Greta Lee, Allen Hughes, Ruth Carter, Kemp Powers, Makoto Shinkai, Damson Idris, Jessica Williams, Oscar Montoya, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Charles Melton and more attended this illustrious event. The cast of “The Color Purple,” which included Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Fantasia Barrino, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, Colman Domingo, and Corey Hawkins, received the Ensemble Award for their performances in the upcoming musical based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Alice Walker.

It was hosted by Nicco Annan, an actor, dancer, and choreographer known for the hit show “P-Valley.” His comedic wit and energetic personality kept the show flowing on an upbeat note. 

Edward James Olmos (center) joined by his four sons. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Critics Choice Association.

Edward James Olmos fittingly received the Icon Award. He’s known for his Academy Award nomination for “Stand and Deliver” and also known for his roles in “Miami Vice” and “Battlestar Galactica.” Olmos was presented with the award by his four sons, and an impressive video of his body of work was shown to the audience.

The Supporting Actress Award recipient Da’Vine Joy Randolph appears in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers.” She plays the supervisor of the cafeteria at a boys’ boarding school whose son was killed while serving in Vietnam. Her character deals with grief and loss in the film. I asked her why this role is important for women. She replied, “For a woman who may not have ever had her story potentially told, it allows us to show the strength and the power of a woman in spite of her situation. I wanted this idea of loss and grief and to do it in a way that many people could connect with her and not just show a one-dimensional character of just being sad. I used the tool of people going through the stages of grief throughout the movie. It was really important to me that people connected.” When asked how she bonded with the teen boy (Dominic Sessa), she said, “He’s a beautiful spirit, an old soul, such a thirst and willingness to learn; in many ways, he made me think of myself in the past. Paul [Giamatti] and I wanted to make sure he had a great experience and that he could come to either of us for advice.” Lastly, I asked what she had learned from Alexander Payne. “Less is more, that there is beauty in the mundane and ordinary; you don’t always need a big scene or moment.”

Colman Domingo and Lenny Kravitz. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Critics Choice Association.

Colman Domingo stars in two major films, “Rustin,” in which he plays the lead, and “The Color Purple” as the abusive ‘Mister’. In talking about both, he said, “In “Rustin,” we gave an unsung hero his due; we put him in the center stage in his own story. That’s what we have the power to do in art; we can right the wrongs of history. The “Color Purple” is a legacy film; it’s passed down from generation to generation; it’s going to be redreamed and reseen with new, fresh eyes. Celie has an imagination, and Mister has a bit more of a redemption story. It’s a beautiful thing and I’m happy.”

One of the reasons I enjoy interviewing on the Red Carpet for events and movie premieres is because of the relaxed and celebratory atmosphere. Also, as a journalist, I often observe interactions between the talent walking the press line. I can report that such a surprising encounter happened as Colman was speaking about his excitement in being presented his award for Best Actor by Lenny Kravitz. As he looked to his left Lenny Kravitz was standing next to him and said, again, “Lenny gives me an award tonight and laughs. Lenny begins to walk over and smiles at me and Colman while giving him a peck on his cheek, and Coleman says, “Aww, thank you, brother, Colman laughs and says to me, “Isn’t he handsome?”

Speaking of Lenny Kravitz and the film “Rustin,” I attended a press conference earlier in the day for his new song, “Road to Freedom,” in which he answered my question concerning his favorite moment in the film. Lenny said, “He loved so many moments it is hard to choose, although he said, in the end, as an artist, if you can step back from the recognition and remove your ego from the work. Just be confident enough in what you did that it is good, is a great lesson for all of us.” 

Sarah Knight Adamson poses for a selfie with Ken Jeong.

Comedy actor Ken Jeong spoke with me on the Red Carpet about his break into acting, “Yes, certainly “The Hangover” was my big break into Hollywood and began my career. The cast and I are such good friends, especially Bradley Cooper.” In speaking about “Crazy Rich Asians” he said it was one of his all-time favorite projects ever to be involved with. Being a part of such a talented group of people who’ve gone on to such success and acclaim over the past five years is incredible, especially for Michelle Yeoh, who won an Oscar last year.

I asked Phylicia Pearl Mpasi, who plays young Celie in “The Color Purple,” what this film does for women. Mpasi replied, “It’s a story about sisterhood and shows us what happens when we step outside of our realm and champion and empower another woman; I think we can move mountains when we all come together.” I asked if Oprah was on set or if she had any advice, and she said with a big smile, “Oh yes, Oprah was on set and said to us to make this film our own, bring our own touches to it.”

Eva Longoria accepted the Breakthrough Director Award and spoke of her troubles of being taken seriously in Hollywood as a woman. She’s also talked about her desire to direct a major film and has directed short films over the years to gain experience. When the script for “Flamin' Hot” came her way, she knew she wanted to direct the film, as she felt she knew the people and their situation, as she identified with them. In speaking with both stars of the film, Annie Gonzalez, the wife of Richard Montañez, the janitor at Frito-Lay who went on to be an executive in the company due to his insistence on adding the flavor “Flamin’ Hot” to Cheetos, told me of the importance to tell the authentic stories of people of Mexican descent as it’s important for all people to know these stories. Jesse Garcia, who plays Richard Montañez, told me he’d known Eva and hadn’t had the chance to work with her. He appreciated her collaboration with the cast and felt she got the authenticity and tone right for the timeframe. He also said he felt a huge responsibility to Richard Montañez, who is still living, to tell his story in the best way possible.

Eva Longoria. Photo Credit: Getty Images for Critics Choice Association.

Director Paul Feig fpresented Longoria with the Breakthrough Director Award, and I asked the director of “Bridesmaids” if he’s always championed women. He said enthusiastically, “Yes, those are the only kinds of stories I want to tell; for so long, we’ve only seen one-dimensional portrayals of women; many of my best friends are women. I want to show them as women characters that are multi-dimensional.”

America Ferrera is known for her award-winning lead role in the television show “Ugly Betty.” When she accepted the Groundbreaker Award, she talked about her days of being the only woman on set and the uncomfortableness of the situation. Upon receiving her award, she said, “When one of us is winning, we’re all winning.”

Jamie Foxx’s surprise appearance to accept the Vanguard Award was the hit of the evening, as most know he’s been ill for a while, and this was his first public appearance. He began by thanking everyone and saying, “Six months ago, I couldn’t actually do that; I couldn’t actually walk.” He went on to talk about his frightening journey, how grateful he is to be alive, and to tell everyone that he is now back. 

The ensemble from “The Color Purple.” Photo Credit: Getty Images for Critics Choice Association.

Below is the full list of honorees…

Icon Award: Edward James Olmos, “Mayans M.C.,” “Stand and Deliver,” “Selena”

Career Achievement Award: Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary,” “Moesha,” “To Sleep with Anger”

Comedy Trailblazer Award: Ken Jeong, “The Masked Singer,” “The Afterparty,” “The Hangover” franchise

Visionary Award: Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction”

Groundbreaker Award: America Ferrera, “Barbie,” “Dumb Money”

Producer Award: Charles D. King, “They Cloned Tyrone”

Breakthrough Director Award (Film): Eva Longoria, “Flamin’ Hot”

Actress Award (Film): Greta Lee, “Past Lives”

Actor Award (Film): Colman Domingo, “Rustin”

Ensemble Award (Film): Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Fantasia Barrino, H.E.R., Halle Bailey, Phyliciua Peral Mpasai, Colman Domingo and Corey Hawkins, “The Color Purple”

Supporting Actress Award (Film): Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”

Animation Award: Kemp Powers, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”

International Animation Award: Makoto Shinkai, “Suzume”

Documentary Series Award: Allen Hughes, “Dear Mama”

Actor Award (TV): Damson Idris, “Snowfall”

Supporting Actress Award (TV): Jessica Williams, “Shrinking”

Supporting Actor Award (TV): Oscar Montoya, “Minx”

Breakthrough Director Award (TV): Lee Sung Jin, “Beef”

Breakthrough Actress Award (Film): Teyana Taylor, “A Thousand and One”

Breakthrough Actress Award (TV): Camilla Morrone, “Daisy Jones & the Six”

Breakthrough Actor Award (Film): Charles Melton, “May December”

Rising Star Award (Film): Xolo Maridueña, “Blue Beetle”

Rising Star Award (TV): Keivonn Woodard, “The Last of Us”

All photos courtesy of Getty Images for Critics Choice Association.

Similar Posts