Awards Season 2018: The 49th NAACP Image Awards -


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

AWARDS SEASON 2018  The 49th NAACP Image Awards
Ava DuVernay: Entertainer Of The Year; "Girls Trip" Outstanding Motion Picture In A Night To Remember At The NAACP Image Awards

Ava DuVernay during her acceptance speech for Entertainer Of The Year at the 49th NAACP Image Awards. 


Omar P.L. Moore/        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

It was women's night at the 49th NAACP Image Awards with the top two awards going to a woman who writes, directs and produces films and videos and a film about a quartet of women in New Orleans. 

In a joyous, loving atmosphere in Pasadena, California last night, filmmaker Ava DuVernay was awarded Entertainer Of The Year for her documentary "13TH", for her television series "Queen Sugar", for directing numerous videos including Jay-Z's "Family Feud" and for directing the forthcoming "A Wrinkle In Time", which opens in theaters in the U.S. and Canada on March 9.

Ms. DuVernay, in one of the most gracious and generous speeches ever by an award recipient, sang the praises of almost two dozen other Black filmmakers and artists who have made films and television series that are flourishing or are about to appear on the big or small screen.  "This is our time.  We can say we were here when all this gorgeous art was happening.  And that we supported it.  And that we lifted each other up," the filmmaker said.  Ms. DuVernay went on to invoke Dr. Martin Luther King.  "We're the dream," she added in part, building to a crescendo.

This year's Image Awards took place on a Monday night, rare -- and rarer still that it also happened to be both Dr. King's actual birthday and Dr. King's Federal holiday in the U.S.  Ms. DuVernay directed "Selma" (2014) and it seemed appropos she would be Entertainer Of The Year and get to speak on Dr. King's birthday.  It was a hugely successful last 12 months for Ms. DuVernay, who was Oscar-nominated for Best Documentary Feature for "13TH" and became the first Black woman to direct a Hollywood film with a $100 million-plus budget ("A Wrinkle In Time".)

"Girls Trip" somewhat surprisingly won Outstanding Motion Picture, beating out films like "Get Out", for which Daniel Kaluuya won Outstanding Actor In A Motion Picture.  The British actor joked, "I don't think you're allowed to beat Denzel Washington in acting competitions," referring to Mr. Washington as a perennial contender and a world-reknowned actor.

In his charismatic acceptance speech "Girls Trip" producer Will Packer thanked Haitian women and African women.  "We NEED you!", Mr. Packer emphasized to a roaring crowd, in a reference to Donald's racist comments last week.  Incidentally, "Girls Trip" was snubbed by the Golden Globes earlier this month, having not been nominated at all.

Other major winners on the film side included Octavia Spencer for "Gifted".

Many of the film awards were handed out in a non-televised portion on the Image Awards on Sunday night.  Tiffany Haddish won for "Girls Trip" for Outstanding Supporting Actress, while Idris Elba won Outstanding Supporting Actor for his work in "Thor: Ragnarok".

The night stayed solely on honoring the work that performers did throughout 2017 and unlike other awards shows no political statements were made.  The closest anyone came was when ESPN host Jemele Hill joked about the president doing a good job -- referring to NAACP President Derrick Johnson, appointed last year after Cornel William Brooks was voted out by the NAACP national board.

Danny Glover received the President's Award for distinguished career as an activist and humanitarian, while William Lucy, who organized sanitation workers and unions and helped countless hundreds of thousands of employees, was honored with the Chairman's Award.

On the television side, "Blackish" was the highlighted winner netting Outstanding Comedy Series and lead acting awards for both Tracee Ellis Ross and Image Awards host Anthony Anderson, both of whom won last year's Image Awards in the same category.  The cable drama "Power" won Outstanding Drama Series besting series like Ms. DuVernay's "Queen Sugar", and unexpectedly.  Omari Hardwick won his first Image Award last night for his lead role in "Power", a series on the Starz Channel.  Taraji P. Henson, currently on the big screen in "Proud Mary", won for lead actress in a dramatic series ("Empire").

Related: Early Image Award wins for Jordan Peele and "Get Out"

Related: Predictions for the 49th NAACP Image Awards

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