The decision by the African American Film Critics to bestow its best actress award to Nicole Beharie, the star of American Violet , instead of Gabourey Sidibe, the star of Precious, has split that organization, with three founding members pulling out and forming a new group, the Black Film Critics Circle, the New York Times reported over the weekend. Following the award to Beharie, Roger Friedman suggested on the Hollywood Reporter' s Showbiz 411 blog that the vote had been rigged by the AAFCA's president Gil Robertson IV and that Robertson was being paid by producers affiliated with American Violet for doing so. "There was nothing gray, there was no close vote," Wilson Morales of Blackfilm.com told the Times. But Robertson has denied the charges, insisting in a statement to the black journalists website Journal-isms that the award to Beharie "was given by a majority of the org's membership for her riveting performance." In the latest development, Nicole Behari, the recipient of the award, has returned it, citing the "discrepancy" involving the voting. Adding yet another layer of controversy to the affair is the fact that Kansas City TV critic Shawn Edwards, one of those leading the walkout, has himself been accused of being a "quote whore," contriving laudatory quotes, often for box-office duds, for film studios to include in their ad campaigns.

11/01/2010