Given the manner in which The Help is already cleaning up at every awards show leading up to the Academy Awards, it should come as little surprise that the crowd-pleasing favorite also cleaned up at The Black Reel Awards, taking home six honors: Outstanding Film, Outstanding Ensemble, Outstanding Actress for Viola Davis, Outstanding Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer, Outstanding Score for Thomas Newman, and Outstanding Song for Mary J. Blige’s “The Living Proof.”
“Despite many objections from factions inside the African-American community that objected to the portrayals of maids onscreen in the 21st Century, I thought both Davis and Spencer handled their roles with sensitivity, depth and conviction,” said FAAAF Executive Director, Tim Gordon. “Congratulations to both actresses on their strong portrayals.”
Outstanding Actor went to John Boyega, for the British sci-fi alien invasion dramedy, Attack the Block, which also won Best Foreign Film. Don Cheadle was awarded the Outstanding Supporting Actor for his work on The Guard, while Adepero Oduye won Outstanding Breakthrough Performance for her role as a young woman coming to terms with her sexuality in Pariah.
The other significant winner was Shame, the story of a man consumed by his own ferocious sexual appetites. Shame walked away with two awards: Outstanding Director and Outstanding Screenplay, Original or Adapted for writer/director Steve McQueen.
Outstanding Feature Documentary went to Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest. Outstanding Independent Feature Film was awarded to My Last Day Without You, Outstanding Independent Short Film to Wake, and Outstanding Independent Documentary to Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat By the Door.
“We were very proud of this year’s amazingly strong crop of documentary and independent films,” stated Gordon. “In a year minus the usual “Black starpower,” 2011 ushered in a crop of new and distinctive voices that we are eager to chart their journeys excitedly awaiting their continued cinematic explorations.”
Feature films weren’t the only medium boasting wins for familiar faces. Popular movie and television star Idris Elba won Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Performance, Male for his rule in Luther, while Taraji P. Henson won her second Black Reel Award for Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Performance, Female for Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story.
Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation won Outstanding Television Documentary, and Thurgood, the story of late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, won Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Film.
The Black Reel Awards is comprised of 50 film critics from across the country and spanning television, radio, print and the Internet. Voting was conducted from January 9, 2012 to January 13, 2012.
2012 Black Reel Award Winners
Outstanding Actor – John Boyega / Attack the Block
Outstanding Actress – Viola Davis / The Help
Outstanding Supporting Actor - Don Cheadle / The Guard
Outstanding Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer / The Help
Outstanding Screenplay, Original or Adapted – Steve McQueen / Shame
Outstanding Director – Steve McQueen / Shame
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance – Adepero Oduye / Pariah
Outstanding Ensemble – The Help
Outstanding Original Song – “The Living Proof” / Mary J. Blige (The Help)
Outstanding Score – Thomas Newman / The Help
Outstanding Foreign Film – Attack the Block
Outstanding Feature Documentary – Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest / Michael Rapaport
Outstanding Film – The Help
Outstanding Independent Feature Film – My Last Day Without You / Stefan C. Schaefer
Outstanding Independent Short Film – Wake / Bree Newsome
Outstanding Independent Documentary – Infiltrating Hollywood: The Rise and Fall of the Spook Who Sat By the Door / Christine Acham and Clifford Ward
Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Performance, Male – Idris Elba / Luther
Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Performance, Female – Taraji P. Henson / Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story
Outstanding Television Documentary – Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation / VH1 (Richard Low and Martin Torgoff)
Outstanding Television or Mini-Series Film – Thurgood / HBO (Michael Stevens)