Friday, February 15, 2008

39th Annual NAACP Image Awards

by Kam Williams

Headline: Great Debaters Dominate Image Awards

“The Great Debaters” dominated the movie categories at the 39th Annual NAACP Image Awards, being named Best Picture, with its stars, Denzel Washington, Denzel Whitaker and Jurnee Smollett, all winning for their performances in the film. Meanwhile, Alicia Keys prevailed in the field of music, earning four trophies, while “House of Payne,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Life Support” each took home a trio in the area of television.
Besides the winners in the nominated categories, a trio of lifetime honorees also gave gracious acceptance speeches: Aretha Franklin (The Vanguard Award), Ruby Dee (The Chairman’s Award) and Stevie Wonder (inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame). The show, which was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, was broadcast live by Fox-TV on February 14th.
Curiously, it was hosted by D.L. Hughley, who had seemingly been in hot water along with Don Imus for his comments on the Tonight Show a year ago in support of the briefly-disgraced DJ, stating that the young women on the Rutgers basketball team were in fact nappy-headed and “some of the ugliest women I've seen in my whole life." Apparently, that water is all under the bridge now, for Imus is back on the air, and D.L. cleaned up his act considerably in his capacity here as emcee.
The evening’s most bizarre moment arrived when presenter Tracy Morgan ignored the teleprompter to wish Happy Valentine’s Day to all his baby-mamas, specifically including fellow-presenter Tichina Arnold whom he revealed to be the mother of his eldest daughter. Ms. Arnold, a single-mom, does have a little girl, Alijah Kai, born in 2004 previously thought to have been fathered by an ex-boyfriend, Carvin Haggins. Who knows whether this was just a joke or if a paternity test might be in order?
Otherwise, the program unfolded in a fairly dignified fashion, and was striking in its embrace of a multicultural orientation, going out of its way to include Asians and Latinos in stage numbers. Even the audience got into the act, when Wayne Brady passed around the mic during a Stevie Wonder medley during which we learned that Judge Mathis can hold a tune and that America “Ugly Betty” Ferrera can’t.


Best Picture: "The Great Debaters."
Best Actor: Denzel Washington, "The Great Debaters."
Best Actress: Jurnee Smollett, "The Great Debaters."
Best Supporting Actor: Denzel Whitaker, "The Great Debaters."
Best Supporting Actress: Janet Jackson, "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?"
Best Director: Kasi Lemmons, "Talk To Me."
Best Scriptwriter: Michael Genet and Rick Famuyiwa, "Talk To Me."
Best Independent or Foreign Film: "Honeydripper."
Best Documentary: "Darfur Now."

Best Comedy Series: "Tyler Perry's House of Payne."
Best Actor, Comedy Series: LaVan Davis, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne."
Best Actress, Comedy Series: America Ferrera, "Ugly Betty."
Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series: Lance Gross, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne."
Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series: Vanessa L. Williams, "Ugly Betty."
Best Director, Comedy Series: Ken Whittingham, "The Office: Phyllis's Wedding."
Best Scriptwriter, Comedy Series: Ali LeRoi, "Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Guidance Counselor"
Best Dramatic Series: "Grey's Anatomy."
Best Actor, Dramatic Series: Hill Harper, "CSI: NY."
Best Actress, Dramatic Series: Regina Taylor, "The Unit."
Best Supporting Actor, Dramatic Series: Omar Epps, "House."
Best Supporting Actress, Dramatic Series: Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy."
Best Director, Dramatic Series: Seith Mann, "Friday Night Lights: Are You Ready For Friday Night?"
Best Scriptwriter, Dramatic Series: Shonda Rhimes and Krista Vernoff, "Grey's Anatomy: A Change is Gonna Come."
Best TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special: "Life Support."
Best Actor in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special: Wendell Pierce, "Life Support."
Best Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special: Queen Latifah, "Life Support."
Best Actor in a Daytime Dramatic Series: Kristoff St. John, "The Young And The Restless."
Best Actress in a Daytime Dramatic Series: Christel Khalil, "The Young And The Restless."
Best News/information, Series or Special: "In Conversation: The Senator Barack Obama Interview."
Best Talk Series: "Tavis Smiley 'Crisis in Darfur'"
Best Reality Series: "Run's House 4."
Best Variety Series or Special: "Celebration of Gospel '07"
Best Children's Program: "That's So Raven."
Best Performance in a Youth/Children's Program, Series or Special: Raven-Symone, "That's So Raven."

Best Album: Alicia Keys, "As I Am."
Best Song: "Like You'll Never See Me Again," Alicia Keys.
Best Male Artist: Chris Brown.
Best Female Artist: Alicia Keys.
Best Duo or Group: Eddie and Gerald Levert.
Best New Artist: Jordin Sparks.
Best Jazz Artist: Herbie Hancock.
Best Gospel Artist: Kirk Franklin.
Best World Music Album: Angelique Kidjo, "Djin Djin."
Best Music Video: "Like You'll Never See Me Again," Alicia Keys.

Best Fiction: "Blonde Faith," Walter Mosley.
Best Nonfiction: "Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond," Don Cheadle, John Prendergast.
Best Debut Author, "The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir," Victoria Rowell.
Best Biography/Autobiography: "Obama: From Promise to Power," David Mendell.
Best Instructional: "The Covenant in Action," Tavis Smiley.
Best Poetry: "Acolytes: Poems," Nikki Giovanni.
Best Children’s Book: "Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson," Sue Stauffacher, author; Greg Couch, illustrator.
Best Youth/Teens’ Book: "More Than Entertainers: An Inspirational Black Career Guide," Charles B. Schooler, author; Gary Young, illustrator.

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