Nicole Beharie, the gifted actress from “American Violet,” has decided to return her award from the African American Film Critics.

She’s sent me this email via her publicist: “I’ve been informed that there was a disagreement over the AAFCA Best Actress Award.’ Because of the discrepancy, I am returning the award. Gabourey Sidibe is an extraordinary actress in a film that I absolutely loved.’ I wish her all the best.”

You may recall that on December 22, 2009 I wrote about the controversy within the AAFCA. Members of the group were furious because Gabourey Sidibe, of “Precious,” actually finished first on the majority of the ballots. For reasons that are unclear, the group’s chief, Gil Robertson, instead announced Beharie as the winner.

Apparently Beharie, who was just as much a victim in this as Sidibe, wrestled with this information for the last couple of weeks. I am told she simply felt it wasn’t right, and that after asking more questions, decided to return the award.

It’s a weird and sad story. But this is what often happens when these small awards groups go unchecked through their voting processes. I am also told that members of the AAFCA are so angry they are considering ditching Robertson and starting their own group. I wish them well.

Meanwhile, Nicole Beharie, who has many awards in her future, has just gone off to shoot a new movie.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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