Da’Vine Joy Randolph of “The Holdovers” and Ayo Edebiri of “The Bear” continued their winning streak this awards season, by getting prizes at the 29th annual Critics Choice Awards, presented Sunday at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. The CW had the U.S. telecast of the show, which was hosted by comedian Chelsea Handler. Randolph and Edebiri repeated their victories at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards, which took place on Jan. 7.
The Critics Choice Awards are voted for and presented by the Critics Choice Association, a nonprofit group of film/TV journalists, which had 658 members at the time this year’s ceremony took place.
In the film categories, Randolph won the Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress. It was her first Critics Choice Award nomination. In the Focus Features comedy/drama “The Holdovers,” which is set in the early 1970s, Randolph plays Mary Lamb, the outspoken and compassionate head cook at a Boston-area boarding school, who is grieving over the death of her military son in the Vietnam War.
Edebiri received the Critics Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. In the FX on Hulu comedy series “The Bear,” Edebiri portrays eager and intelligent Sydney Adamu, a Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, who works at a Chicago restaurant and has to deal with her neurotic boss and co-workers. For the first season of “The Bear,” Edebiri was nominated (but did not win) for this role at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards, where she was a nominee for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Sheryl Lee Ralph of ABC’s “Abbott Elementary” won the 2023 Critics Choice Award in that category. In the second season of “The Bear,” the Sidney character has an expanded role, which is why Edebiri is now considered to be a lead actress for the show.
Randolph began her acceptance speech by thanking the Critics Choice Association, her fellow nominees, and her colleagues. She added, “To play a woman who is so many things, to see themselves is a gift. And I want to have a moment to thank the incredible women in my life who have made me the artist I am today.”
Randolph continued, “I thank my mother for teaching me that hard work and tenacity pays off. My aunt Shirley, who taught me to be fabulous. My aunt Gwynnie, who taught me how to tell the perfect joke. Thank you to all the teachers who have guided me over the years. And a special thanks to the women in the industry who have fiercely supported me.”
Edebiri started her speech by thanking the Critics Choice Association, her colleagues, and business associates. Edebiri also showed appreciation for her “real family … everyone in Boston, Barbados, Nigeria, and Ireland, in many ways.” She added, “Thank you to my chosen family—people in my life who have seen me when I couldn’t see myself.”
Just like at the Golden Globes this year, “The Bear” unseated previous champ “Abbott Elementary” as the winner of Best Comedy Series. Although “The Bear” does not have a Black showrunner, “The Bear” Afro-Latina co-star Liza Colón-Zayas (who portrays restaurant cook Tina Marrero) was chosen to give the acceptance speech for the show. Colón-Zayas gave the expected thanks to the Critics Choice Association, her co-workers, other industry associates, and loved ones. She added to her list of thanks: “And especially the people of Chicago, for opening their kitchens and their hearts to us. … And to all the Tinas in the South Bronx: Keep believing.”
Randolph and Edebiri were two of the four Black people to win prizes at the show. “American Fiction” screenwriter Cord Jefferson won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Kemp Powers, one of the directors of Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” was one of the winners of Best Animated Feature. These two awards were among several of the show’s prizes that were not presented on television.
For these non-televised categories, the winners were announced during the ceremony, but the show did not have the winners give acceptance speeches or statements. Jefferson is the director and one of the producers of “American Fiction,” which has a Black-majority principal cast. Black people are the minority in the principal casts of “The Holdovers,” “The Bear,” and “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” which all have white people leading their respective teams of directors, writers, and producers.
Orion Pictures’ racial satire “American Fiction” (starring Jeffrey Wright) is an adaptation of Percival Everett’s 2001 novel “Erasure.” Wright portrays Thelonius “Monk” Ellison, a literature professor who sarcastically invents a persona as a fugitive criminal to write a novel with negative racial stereotypes of Black people. He’s surprised when the book becomes a hit and has to decide how long he’s going to keep up the charade.
Movies and TV shows with a Black-majority cast and Black directors or Black showrunners were mostly passed over for winning Critics Choice Awards in 2024. The Warner Bros. Pictures movie musical “The Color Purple,” the Netflix civil rights drama “Rustin,” and “Abbott Elementary” received multiple nominations but ultimately did not get any Critics Choice Awards this year. They were also nominated at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards but were shut out of winning at that ceremony too.
The number of Black people winning awards at these shows significantly dropped this year, compared to last year. Black people won in eight categories at the Critics Choice Awards in 2023 (including two wins for “Abbott Elementary,” and Janelle Monáe getting the SeeHer Award for female empowerment), compared to Black people winning in four Critics Choice Awards categories in 2024. At the 2023 Golden Globe Awards, there were Black winners in six categories (including three wins for “Abbott Elementary,” and Eddie Murphy receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement), compared to Black winners in two categories at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards.
According to the Critics Choice Association, 48 (or 7%) of its 658 members are Black. There are about 300 international journalists who are Golden Globe Awards voters, of which 11% are Black, according to Dick Clark Productions, which owns the Golden Globe Awards.
The Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globe Awards are often indicators of what movies are likely to get Oscar nominations in the same year. Winning these prizes is another matter.
In 2023, only one Black person won an Academy Award: Ruth E. Carter, winner of Best Costume Design for Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Based on the diminishing numbers of Black people who’ve been winning movie prizes at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards in 2024, it’s starting to look like this pattern will continue for the 2024 Academy Awards.
Black presenters at the 2024 Critics Choice Awards were David Oyelowo, Angela Bassett, Jessica Williams, Ashley Madekwe, Donald Faison, and Oprah Winfrey.
A complete list of winners can be found at the official Critics Choice Awards website.