By Carmen Glover
The 45th NAACP Image Awards, held on Saturday, February 22 in Pasadena, California, achieved what the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild combined failed miserably to do: honor a broad range of deserving African-Americans who showcased outstanding performances during the past year. Broadcast live for the first time on TV One, the 2014 Image Awards got off to an entertaining start with a phalanx of stars such as Judge Greg Mathis, Dennis Haysbert,Tatyana Ali and Tika Sumpter walking the red carpet. Actor Anthony Anderson hosted the event and made an effort to connect with the audience.
Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder honored the late international icon and South African President Nelson Mandela. “Nelson Mandela was a true hero. His spirit was never broken. His life was an example to us all,” Winfrey said, describing being in his presence as “sitting with the face of grace and majesty.” Stevie Wonder performed a medley of his hit songs including “Higher Ground” and “Always.”
Paris Barclay and Cheryl Boone Isaacs were inducted into the Image Awards Hall of fame for achieving significant firsts: Barclay is the first African American President of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) while Boone Isaacs is the first African American President of the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.
Among the winners at the venerable awards show was Oscar Award winner/director/producer Forest Whitaker, who won both the NAACP Chairman’s Award and the Best Actor award for his riveting performance in “Lee Daniels’:The Butler” which was snubbed by the other awards shows. The ever classy Whitaker acknowledged his fellow actors and said a humble “Thank you,” in accepting his award. Whitaker also starred in “Black Nativity” and produced “Fruitvale Station,” both of which were recognized during the event.
In recognition of the diverse and compelling roles that performers brought to life on the big screen, the NAACP also honored the following: “12 Years a Slave,” Outstanding Picture; Outstanding Actress, Angela Bassett for “Black Nativity”; Lupita Nyong’o, Best Supporting Actress for her remarkable role in “12 Years a Slave.,” David Oyelowo was named Best Supporting Actor in “Lee Daniels’: The Butler;” while the riveting “Fruitvale Station” was finally recognized with a Best Independent Film award.
Kevin Hart was named Entertainer of the Year, cementing his status as a star who is serious about his craft and utilizing expert marketing strategies to broaden his fan base. Hart also won two awards for television as Outstanding Actor in a comedy series and for the series itself in “Real Husbands of Hollywood.” A solemn and visibly moved Hart walked to the stage, paused, then said: “First of all I gotta thank God,” as he accepted the final award of the night. He thanked his late mother and said: “I’m a mama’s boy but my mother passed away and is not here to share it with me but I know she’s smiling down on me right now.”
The television categories were nuanced and broad. Morris Chestnut won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for “Nurse Jackie,” while Brandy Norwood won for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for “The Game.” The dominant series “Scandal” was named Outstanding Drama Series with Kerry Washington winning for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series and her father on the show, Joe Morton, winning Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. Accepting her award, Washington, who is due to give birth soon, thanked her “Gladiators” as the audience cheered.
L.L. Cool J won Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series for “NCIS: Los Angeles.” Taraji P. Henson won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for “Person of Interest” while Wendy Raquel Robinson won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. Idris Elba did not go home empty-handed, winning Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special for “Luther,” while Gabrielle Union won the female equivalent. Kristoff St. John and Tatyana Ali, won Best Actor and Actress, respectively, in a Daytime Drama Series, for their performances on “The Young and the Restless”
Dr. Heny Louis Gates, Jr. won for Outstanding News/Information (Series of Special) for “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Steve Harvey’s syndicated show won for Outstanding Talk Series, while “Iyanla Fix My Life” won for Outstanding Reality Series. “Black Girls Rock” won for Outstanding Variety Series or Special, “Wynton Marsalis: A YoungArts MasterClass” won for Outstanding Children’s Program while China Anne McClain won Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program for “A.N.T Farm.”
Music was a mixed bag with K. Michele named Outstanding New Artist, John Legend named Outstanding Male Artist and Beyoncé named Outstanding Female Artist. Robin Thicke’s controversial “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I and Pharrell, won for Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration. “The Songs of Stevie Wonder-SF Jazz Collective” was named Outstanding Jazz Album, Tamela Mann’s “Best Days Deluxe Edition” was named Outstanding Gospel Album, “Natalie Cole en Espanol” won Outstanding World Music Album, “Q.U.E.E.N” by Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu won for Outstanding Music Video, John Legend’s “All of Me” was named Outstanding Song and “Love Charlie” by Charlie Wilson won Outstanding Album.
Pamela Samuels’ “Anybody’s Daughter won Outstanding Fiction; Envisioning Emancipation: Black Anericans and the End of Slavery” by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer won Outstanding Non-Fiction; Sheri Booker was named Outstanding New Author for “Nine Years Under;” “The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks” by Jeanne Theoharis was named Outstanding Biography/Autobiography; “The Vegucation of Robin: How Real Food Saved My Life” by Robin Quivers won for Outstanding Instructional,;Frank X. walker’s “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers won for Poetry; Kadir Nelson’s “Nelson Mandela” won for Outstanding Children’s Book while Tanya Lee Stone’s “Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: American’s Frist Black Paratroopers” won for Outstanding Youth/Teens.
The NAACP Image Awards reinforce the importance of African-Americans taking the lead in celebrating their entertainers instead of leaving it up to others who will probably never truly see the vast range, texture and power embodied in African-American talent.-OnPointPress.net.
Please Follow us on Twitter @OnPointPress_.