HCA Awards Is Now Astra Awards; Jeffrey Wright, Glenn Howerton Honored newsbhunt


Several months after the Hollywood Critics Association rebranded itself as the Hollywood Creative Alliance, the org has also given its signature awards shows a new name. The HCA announced Friday that its various HCA awards will now be known as ‘The Astra Awards.’

That means the HCA Film Awards, HCA TV Awards and HCA Creative Arts Awards will become the Astra Film Awards, Astra TV Awards and the Astra Creative Arts Awards. The name change was approved by the org’s advisory committee on Nov. 17.

“As the Hollywood Creative Alliance expands to include creatives and other industry professionals, we wanted an award name that would be reflective of the newly relaunched organization,” said HCA CEO Scott Menzel in a statement. “The name ‘Astra’ is a perfect award show title evoking celestial brilliance and creative mastery. It encapsulates the collaborative spirit, symbolizing individual stars and elegantly embodies the industry’s aspiration, innovation, and distinction. This new name symbolizes unity amongst the diverse and inclusive membership of the Hollywood Creative Alliance.”

HCA also announced three Astra Film Awards honorees: “American Fiction” star Jeffrey Wright will receive the HCA Acting Achievement Award; “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” star Abby Ryder Fortson will receive the HCA Star on the Rise Award, “BlackBerry” star Glenn Howerton will receive the HCA Game Changer Award. All three will receive their kudos at the Astra Film Awards event at downtown Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel on Saturday, January 6, 2024.

“This past year has been a tremendous struggle for most in the industry including those in SAG-AFTRA and WGA,” said HCA vice chair Yong Chavez. “Yet through trying times the film industry continued to persevere, and we at the HCA couldn’t be more excited to honor and celebrate the work of these three extraordinary talents. HCA has always taken great pride in recognizing a wide variety of artists, and with the strikes hopefully behind us, we believe these actors and their phenomenal achievements encompass what we as an organization stand for diversity and unity.”

In August, Variety reported that the HCA, which had been hit with allegations of malfeasance and accused of harboring a hostile membership environment, has completed an organizational restructuring that it believed would address those issues. The restructure, handled by Menzel with the guidance of corporate operation strategist Leslie Short of the Cavu Group, included a mostly new board and an expansion of its membership scope, which it described as “critics, entertainment journalists, content creators, industry influencers and creatives.”

HCA’s advisory committee includes director/writer/producer Phil Lord, producer Beau Flynn, writer/director Adele Lim, Hidden Empire Film Group’s Deon and Roxanne Taylor, hair and makeup artist Donald Mowat, comedian Aida Rodriguez, composer John Ottman, actor/director Tara Westwood, 42 West VP Annalee Paulo, Chiat/Day LA’s Jennifer Payne, Walker Media & Associates’ Lana Walker, acting teacher Bernard Hiller, Collider’s Maggie Lovitt and The Hot Mic’s John Rocha.

The nominations for the Astra Film Awards will be announced on Thursday, December 7, 2023, beginning at 8:30 am on HCA’s YouTube Channel. The Astra Film Awards and the Astra TV Awards will stream on video platforms on January 6 and January 8.


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