The 45th annual NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 22 was an epic affair with a number of top comedy and performance highlights. The event is held to honor the accomplishments of black artists and performers in the fields of television, music, literature and film. Filled with fashion, glamour, achievement, celebration, and surprises, the ceremony was hosted by Anthony Anderson at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.
The historical film 12 Years a Slave made epic wins, earning a total of four awards including Outstanding Motion Picture, Supporting Actress went to the glamorous Lupita Nyong’o, Steve McQueen for Directing, and Writing went to John Ridley.
An elegant and pleasantly pregnant Kerry Washington got rave reviews for her sapphire blue gown with blush shawl accent. Her style picked up on this year’s biggest hair trend, displaying her long locks in a loose fish bone braid draped over her shoulder. Washington took the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Olivia Pope in Scandal. This was number five in a stack of NAACP Image Awards for the highly accomplished actress.
Washington’s on-screen father, actor Joe Morton, also made a win for Scandal with the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award. The show topped off its accomplishments with the coveted Outstanding Drama Series award.
Highlights of the NAACP Image Awards continued with outstanding performances from top artists. In music awards, John Legend won for Male Artist, Beyonce took the award for Female Artist, K. Michelle won the award for Top New Artist, and the prize for Group Collaboration went to Robin Thicke, T.I. and Pahrrell Williams for the hit song Blurred Lines.
Funny-man Kevin Heart was honored for his stellar year in entertainment as Entertainer of the Year, as well as the award for Actor in a Comedy Series for his BET mock-reality hit Real Husbands of Hollywood, which also won the award for Comedy Series.
Actor Forest Whitaker received recognition for his acting skills as well as his humanitarian and public service accomplishments in the last year. Whitaker was honored with the NAACP Chairman’s Award for his distinguished public service as the chairman of the International Institute for Peace, and as a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He also took home the award for Actor in a Motion Picture for his role in The Butler.
Media icon Oprah Winfrey paid tribute to Nelson Mandela at the 45th NAACP Image Awards with help from music legend Stevie Wonder. The beloved South African leader who passed away last year was honored with touching words by Winfrey who said “I miss him dearly… his life was an example to us all.”
Other notable awards of the evening went to Tatyana Ali as Actress In a Daytime Drama Series for The Young and the Restless, Richard Pryor won the Documentary award for Omit the Logic, and Wendy Raquel Robinson won Actress in a Comedy Series for her role in The Game. One of the unique aspects of the NAACP Image Awards are its literature highlights, which celebrate accomplishments of the year’s top writers.
By Mimi Mudd