49th NAACP Image Awards Honor ‘Black-ish,’ ‘Get Out,’ DuVernay

Photo Source: The cast of “Black-ish”: REX/Shutterstock.com

The 49th NAACP Image Awards Feb. 15 celebrated actors from “Get Out,” “Power,” and host Anthony Anderson’s own “Black-ish” while also honoring the activism of performers Danny Glover and Charlie Wilson.

Held on this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, winners of the awards presented annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People invoked the civil rights leader’s legacy throughout the celebration. When Ava DuVernay, who told King’s story in 2014’s “Selma,” won Entertainer of the Year, she championed her fellow artists and declared, “This is our time. We can say we were here when all this gorgeous art was happening and that we supported it, that we lifted each other up, that we did as Dr. King said he would do: Live the dream. We are the dream.”

A number of the 2018 recipients—including honorees in literature and music—were announced prior to Monday’s event, which was held at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in L.A. In a key change from past years, all members of the public, not just those belonging to the NAACP, were allowed to vote on the recipients.

During the telecast, Daniel Kaluuya collected his Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture win for Universal Pictures’ “Get Out.” He joked, “I don’t think you’re allowed to beat Denzel Washington in acting competitions.” (Washington was nominated for Columbia Pictures’ “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”)

Going into the ceremony, Jordan Peele had already picked up statues for directing and writing “Get Out.” Although the awards-contending thriller was nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture, the top film trophy ended up going to the Universal Pictures comedy “Girls Trip.” That movie’s breakout star, Tiffany Haddish, was awarded Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture—one of two Image Awards she collected, along with her voiceover work in Comedy Central’s “Legends of Chamberlain Heights.” Octavia Spencer garnered the lead film actress prize for Fox Searchlight Pictures’ “Gifted,” while supporting actor went to Idris Elba for returning to Asgard in Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Once again, ABC’s “Black-ish” was dominant in the television comedy categories; the sitcom earned Outstanding Comedy Series, while stars Tracee Ellis Ross and Anderson took home their respective seventh and fourth Image statues.

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“When we speak up and use our voices and vote, we make so much change and our world needs it right now,” Ross said in her acceptance speech. Earlier in the night, she had appeared on stage alongside Kerry Washington, Laverne Cox, and other female artists to give a statement supporting the Time’s Up movement. Ross and Anderson’s onscreen daughter, Marsai Martin, triumphed in the supporting actress category, and Anton Cropper was recognized for directing the heralded fourth season premiere, “Juneteenth,” a musical episode. Elsewhere in the world of comedy, Jay Ellis won for his supporting work on HBO’s “Insecure.”

On the TV drama side, Starz’s “Power” was victorious, collecting Outstanding Drama Series with stars Omari Hardwick and Naturi Naughton honored as Outstanding Actor and Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, respectively. Taraji P. Henson, who was not present to collect her trophy, garnered Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for Fox’s “Empire.” Joe Morton was hailed as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama for ABC’s “Scandal.”

Though winners of most of the musical categories—among them Mary J. Blige, Bruno Mars, and Kendrick Lamar—were announced previously, nominee Andra Day delivered a rendition of “Strange Fruit” that segued into a performance of “Stand Up For Something” from the film “Marshall,” featuring Common. For a full list of winners, visit naacpimageawards.net.

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