Sometimes, the frontrunner isn’t the first one to cross the finish line. Although it was nominated a staggering 14 times (a Black Reel Awards record), Tyler Perry’s sexual abuse drama, For Colored Girls took home only three awards this year. By contrast, Night Catches Us, the story of a man whose dark past will not let him go, nearly swept its nominations, winning five of the seven categories in which it was nominated, including Outstanding Film, Outstanding Screenplay (Tanya Hamilton), Outstanding Actor (five-time nominee Anthony Mackie, who also won last year in the Outstanding Supporting Actor category for The Hurt Locker), Outstanding Actress (Kerry Washington) and Outstanding Score (The Roots).
For Colored Girls’ victories went to Outstanding Supporting Actress (Phylicia Rashad), Outstanding Ensemble, and Outstanding Breakthrough Performance (Tessa Thompson). “It was thought that For Colored Girls might be the film that elevated Tyler Perry from a niche filmmaker to a true industry player,” said Tim Gordon, Executive Director and founder of the Black Reel Awards, “but it looks like he still has a ways to go—at least as far as the critics are concerned.”
The coveted Outstanding Director prize went to The Hughes Brothers for the apocalyptic thriller The Book of Eli, while Outstanding Supporting Actor went to Wesley Snipes for his role in the crime drama, Brooklyn’s Finest. John Legend won Outstanding Song for “Shine,” from the education documentary Waiting for Superman, which also won for Outstanding Feature Documentary.
“This was a rough year,” said Gordon. “There’s just no way around it. However, in a year that fell short of many of our expectations and standards, it was refreshing to see a young filmmaker like Tanya break out in a major way! We look forward to seeing what she’ll tackle next.” “In a year that was below our standards, it was refreshing to see a young filmmaker break out in a major way!”
Preacher’s Kid won the award for Outstanding Independent, while Katrina’s Son took home the award for Outstanding Independent Short. Outstanding Independent Documentary and Outstanding Television Documentary went to For the Best and For the Onion and If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise respectively.
Below are all your 2011 Black Reel Awards winners:
Night Catches Us | Magnolia
Tanya Hamilton – Night Catches Us
Anthony Mackie – Night Catches Us
Kerry Washington – Night Catches Us
Outstanding Supporting Actor
Wesley Snipes – Brooklyn’s Finest
Outstanding Supporting Actress
Phylicia Rashad – For Colored Girls
The Roots – Night Catches Us
Shine (John Legend) – Waiting for Superman
For Colored Girls | Lionsgate
Outstanding Breakthrough Performance
Tessa Thompson – For Colored Girls
Outstanding Feature Documentary
Waiting for Superman
Preacher’s Kid | Warner Bros.
Outstanding Independent Short
Katrina’s Son | Ya’ke
Outstanding Independent Documentary
For the Best and For the Onion
Outstanding Television Documentary
If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise