“Selma” Marches Away with the Honors

Film Ties Last Year’s “12 Years a Slave” for Greatest Number of Awards Bestowed

This evening in Nation’s Capitol, the 15th annual Black Reel Awards were conferred on the finest feature and independent films and television in 2015 featuring blacks in front of and behind the camera. Although it was virtually shut out of the Academy Awards, the highly lauded story of civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.’s march for freedom, Selma, won an astonishing eight awards including Outstanding Motion Picture (executive producer Oprah Winfrey is the first black and seventh female producer to win the Outstanding Picture prize), Outstanding Director (Ava DuVernay, who ties Steve McQueen and Gina Prince Bythewood for the most wins in the Outstanding Director category, with two apiece), Outstanding Actor (David Oyelowo), Outstanding Supporting Actor (Wendell Pierce), Outstanding Supporting Actress (Carmen Ejogo), Outstanding Score (Jason Moran), Outstanding Original Song (John Legend has won this award three times — more than any other artist), and Outstanding Ensemble (awarded to casting director Aisha Coley).

“Despite the lack of recognition by mainstream awards shows, we were delighted that Selma, Ava DuVernay’s poignant story, achieved greatness this year by tying 12 Years A Slave for the most wins in a single year,” said Black Reel Awards Executive Director and Founder, Tim Gordon. “The film is a towering achievement of cinematic excellence and will continue to grow in stature in the ensuing years.”

The only two principal awards Selma didn’t win went to Outstanding Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Belle, and to Chris Rock for Outstanding Screenplay for Top Five. Anita: Speaking Truth to Power won Outstanding Documentary, while Fishing Without Nets became the first film from Kenya to win the Outstanding Foreign Film award. Tyler James Williams and Teyonah Parris both won the Outstanding Breakthrough Performance award for their work in Dear White People, while critic and audience favorite Morgan Freeman won the Outstanding Voice Performance award for his sage turn in The LEGO Movie.

“2014 was a worthy follow-up to a historic slate of films from the previous year,” said Gordon. “As we continue to usher in new stars, this past year was chock full of strong contenders, all worthy of recognition.”

On the small screen, A Trip to Bountiful was awarded Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series and Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown won Outstanding Television Documentary or Special. Tied with four wins apiece, Cicely Tyson (Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series for The Trip to Bountiful) and Anika Noni Rose (Outstanding Supporting Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series for A Day Late and a Dollar Short) are now the most awarded women in Black Reel Awards history.

For the full list of Black Reel Awards winners, too numerous to list here, please see below:


Outstanding Motion Picture
Selma | Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner & Christian Colson (Paramount)

Outstanding Actor, Motion Picture
David Oyelowo | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Actress, Motion Picture
Gugu Mbatha-Raw | Belle (Fox Searchlight)

Outstanding Supporting Actor, Motion Picture
Wendell Pierce | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Supporting Actress, Motion Picture
Carmen Ejogo | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Director, Motion Picture
Ava DuVernay | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Screenplay, Motion Picture
Chris Rock | Top Five (Paramount)

Outstanding Documentary
Anita: Speaking Truth to the Power | Freida Lee Mock

Outstanding Ensemble (Awarded to Casting Directors)
Selma | Aisha Coley (Paramount)

Outstanding Foreign Film
Fishing Without Nets (Kenya) | Cutter Hodierne (Drafthouse Films)

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Male
Tyler James Williams | Dear White People (Lionsgate/ Roadside Attractions

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female
Teyonah Parris | Dear White People (Lionsgate / Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Voice Performance
Morgan Freeman | The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Outstanding Score
Jason Moran | Selma (Paramount)

Outstanding Original Song
“Glory” from Selma | Performed by: John Legend & Common;
Written by: John Legend, Common & Che Smith (Paramount)

Outstanding Independent Feature
The Retrieval | Chris Eska

Outstanding Independent Documentary
25 to Life | Mark Brown

Outstanding Independent Short
#AmeriCan | Nate Parker

Outstanding Television Documentary or Special
Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown | Alex Gibney (HBO)

Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series
The Trip to Bountiful | Bill Haber, Cicely Tyson, Hallie Foote & Jeff Hayes (Lifetime)

Outstanding Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Larenz Tate | Gun Hill (BET)

Outstanding Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Cicely Tyson | The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actor, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Blair Underwood | The Trip to Bountiful (Lifetime)

Outstanding Supporting Actress, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Anika Noni Rose | A Day Late and a Dollar Short (Lifetime)

Outstanding Director, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Reggie Rock Bythewood | Gun Hill (BET)

Outstanding Screenplay, TV Movie or Mini-Series
Reggie Rock Bythewood | Gun Hill (BET)

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