The African American Film Critics Association has released its list of the top 10 movies of 2021, and they named Netflix’s Western film The Harder They Fall as the year’s top pick. The flick’s star-studded cast included some of the performing arts’ most powerful Black actors like Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors. Last year, the association named the widely acclaimed Judas and the Black Messiah as its number one choice.
AAFCA president and co-founder Gil Robertson released a press statement today about why Harder They Fall was chosen by the association. “Selections for this year’s Top 10 speak to history’s importance in informing who we are, as a people and as a community,” it reads. “Although our top film The Harder They Fall from Netflix is a fictionalized Western, it introduced the world to an incredible array of real-life Black cowboys and cowgirls who helped to transform the West, prompting many to discover the prominent role Black people played in that storied chapter of American history that has long been a Hollywood go-to genre.”
Robertson’s comments echoes those from music entrepreneur Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter), who served as co-producer on the movie and also appeared on its soundtrack. This past October, Hov appeared at the BFI London Film Festival and spoke about the importance of seeing Black faces in spaces where they have been historically absent.
“Just to see us represented, you know, with a lot of films we didn’t see ourselves in Westerns, as if we didn’t exist,” Carter told the U.K.’s PA Media. “It is almost odd, people think that it’s like a caricature, that they are playing roles, but they’re not playing roles.”
On January 17, 2022, the AAFCA will unveil all the winners of its 13th annual awards, and that will be followed up approximately six weeks later with an in-person ceremony Los Angeles.
The full list of this year’s AAFC movies to win the award for top film is as follows (in alphabetical order):