Viola Davis landed her sixth Outstanding Actress nomination for her work in “The Woman King,” becoming the most recognized individual in the Actress category in Black Reel Award (Bolts) history, while the film’s director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, grabbed her fourth Outstanding Director nomination, becoming the most recognized woman director in Black Reel Award history. Two of her previous films, “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Love and Basketball” resulted in wins.
Grammy and fashion icon, Rihanna scored two Bolt nominations in the Outstanding Original Song category for “Born Again” and “Lift Me Up”—both from the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” soundtrack. For the first time in history, all the nominees in the Outstanding Original Song category were performed and, at least, partly written by women. With an Outstanding Supporting Actor nomination for his work in “Breaking,” Michael K. Williams joined Chadwick Boseman and Gloria Foster as the third person to receive posthumous acting nominations from the Black Reel Awards.
Four honorary Bolt statuettes will be presented to powerhouses in the film industry: Debra Martin Chase, Angela Bassett, Kerry Washington, and Effie T. Brown. Chase joins legends Spike Lee and Suzanne de Passe as the latest recipient of the Oscar Micheaux Impact Award. One of the most bankable producers in Hollywood, Debra Martin Chase is behind pop-culture hits such as “The Princess Diaries,” “The Cheetah Girls,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “Cinderella” (1997), and most recently the television standout “The Equalizer. Bassett will be saluted with the Sidney Poitier Trailblazer Award and joins the ranks of such acting talent as Cicely Tyson and Laurence Fishburne.
The Ruby Dee Humanitarian award will go to Kerry Washington. Like Oprah Winfrey and Chaz Ebert before her, Washington is a dedicated philanthropist who supports close to thirty foundations and charities, including the NAACP, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Peace Over Violence, Save the Children, and the Cancer Research Institute. Finally, this year’s Vanguard Award goes to Effie T. Brown, the producer behind ground-breaking films like “The Inspection,” “But I’m A Cheerleader,” “Dear White People,” and “Real Women Have Curves.”