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It’s official. Nominations for the 39th NAACP Image Awards are out. Everybody Hates Chris and Girlfriends lead the field for outstanding comedy series with seven nominations each. Grey’s Anatomy and Lincoln Heights are out front for outstanding drama series with receiving four and three nominations, respectively. The Great Debaters, Talk to Me, and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?, each received multiple nominations in the motion picture category. Stevie Wonder will be inducted into the awards’ Hall of Fame.
The awards are scheduled to air live on Fox on Feb. 14. Award organizers have reportedly applied for a waiver from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) to allow the show to go on amid the ongoing writers’ strike. The Golden Globe Awards, previously scheduled for Sunday, have been cancelled. The WGA rejected its waiver request resulting in the Hollywood Foreign Press, the awards’ host, scheduling a press conference to announce the winners.
In a year when an African American is making a serious bid for the White House, some might argue that African Americans have indeed arrived and no longer need their own awards ceremony. But taking a look at the nominees suggests that the NAACP is arguably deftly attuned with important subject matter frequently ignored by not only the mainstream awards programs but oftentimes overlooked by audiences as well.
It is particularly exciting to see Kasi Lemmons Talk to Me starring Don Cheadle receive five nominations including those for outstanding motion picture, outstanding writing, and outstanding actor. The film is a brilliant celebration of black brotherhood and friendship with mesmerizing performances by Cheadle and Chiwetel Ejiofor, missed by not only the Globes, but by moviegoers last summer.
It is equally gratifying to see Denzel Washington’s sophomore directing effort The Great Debaters, receive recognition with six nominations while smaller films such as Dirty Laundry, My Brother, and Honeydripper receivednods in the independent or foreign film category. “To have this film recognized by the NAACP is very special to me,” says Dirty Laundry director Maurice Jamal. “So many people doubted that this film could be made and felt our community wasn’t ready to look at the themes and issues it represents. But I knew in my heart that black audiences want films of which we can be proud,” adds the director of the gay/family themed film.
Alicia Keys leads the recording categories with four nominations–outstanding female artist, outstanding song, outstanding music video, and outstanding album. Up for outstanding new artist are Chrisette Michele, Corbin Bleu, J. Holiday, Jordin Sparks, and Sean Kingston. Outstanding talk show series nominees include our very own Our World with Black Enterprise, which will vie with Tavis Smiley Crisis in Darfur,Judge Mathis, The Tyra Banks Show, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
What’s also good about the Image Awards is that it not only honors television, movies, and music but books as well. This year’s nominees include Walter Moseley’s Blonde Faith and Stephen L. Carter’s New England White: A Novel, which isnominated for outstanding literary work—fiction. Other recognized works include biographies