AAFCA: A night in Hollywood where stars shone bright

LOS ANGELES _ What a joy it was to attend the African American Film Critics Association annual awards honoring what’s good in Hollywood. I did thehair and make-up thing, which I learned is dubbed “lip and lash.” I wore the dress, which got lots of attention – and Sherri Shepherd, whom I love, was going to take off me.

But in that room full of people I recognized or knew had major roles behind the camera, the most noticeable thing were 1) They are real (personable, funny, pass gas) people and 2) are either ungracious or gracious.

Every star I met was gracious, unfailingly gracious.

AAfcA honored Ava DuVernay, Jordan Peele and many others whose lights are shining bright right now. The evening was very “A Wrinkle in Time.”If anybody still has doubts that DuVernay is one of the most important directors working today, they don’t know film. And the anticipation for Wrinkle may be overshadowed by “Black Panther” right now, but it’s time is coming – and it’s going to explode.

But in every room like that, with every gathering of stars, there is always one that makes you stop mid-conversation to say: There she is.

For me that was spotting the incomparable Frances McDormand, whom AAFCA was honoring as best actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri.” I’d loved her since “Fargo.” I didn’t know she was being honored. I didn’t know I’d see her. But I had JUST seen “Three Billboards” a few  hours before the ceremony So I had achance to tell her in person what I’d written down to tweet when I landed: “I just saw “Three Billboards” on my flight to LA, and the pilot had to tell me to stop giving you a standing ovation while the seat belt light was on.” #OscarsSoFrances.

That was a moment.