HOLLYWOOD—Honoring the brightest and best in cinema, television, music and literature, the 49th Annual NAACP Awards were handed out on Monday, January 15 and “Black-ish” star Anthony Anderson took on hosting duties again. Anderson had no trouble going for the jugular. I mean talk kicked off with rather Oprah Winfrey would run for presidency, Donald Trump, talk of protests, actor Tyrese’s breakdown and of course Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
He received audible gasps from the audience when he poked fun about Omarosa and her unexpected departure from The White House. Anderson has hosted the ceremony 5 times, and I gotta say, in most situations you’d be tired of the same host after two or three turns at the stage, but Anderson has a fluid approach to hosting, delivering comedy and wit in a way that is relevant and powerful.
Continuing with the #TimesUp Movement, Laverne Cox, Kerry Washington, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Robinson and Jurnee Smollett-Bell took to the stage to deliver a riveting message about the importance of voting and making a change in the political climate that is under siege in America right now. The ladies were responsible for delivering the first award of the night for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture to Octavia Spencer for “Gifted.” Gotta say it hasn’t been the strongest year for African-American women in the cinematic arena, which means more diversity needs to be pushed for women of color in cinema.
The Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series was given to Anthony Anderson for “Black-ish.” It would be odd if he didn’t win the prize considering he is indeed hosting the awards show people. Taraji P. Henson won the award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her work on “Empire,” but the actress was not in attendance at the ceremony to collect her prize. For Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series it was Omari Hardwick from “Power” who delivered an upset. I honestly expected Sterling K. Brown to claim the prize for his work on the NBC series “This is Us.”
No surprise here to see Tracee Ellis Ross collect the statue for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her work on the ABC hit “Black-ish.” Singer Charlie Wilson was honored for his humanitarian efforts and he delivered a rousing speech that had the entire audience singing with him. Actor Danny Glover was honored with the President’s Award.
The NAACP prize for Outstanding Comedy Series went to “Black-ish” which is pretty much sweeping the ceremony at this moment America. The NAACP Chairman’s Award was William Lucy, who played a pivotal role during the Civil Rights Era. Singer Andra Day delivered a sensational performance singing the Billie Holliday classic “Strange Fruit,” before being joined onstage by Common for a collaboration of the song “Stand Up.”
The accolade for Outstanding Drama Series was delivered to the Starz series “Power.” At long last, a bit of love has been given to the Jordan Peele thriller “Get Out,” with Daniel Kaluuya taking home the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. The night capped off with the final prize of the evening, Outstanding Motion Picture being awarded to the comedy “Girls Trip.” Was that slightly stunning? Yes, but considering how hilarious that flick was and the support it received since its release, I’m not that surprised. Director Ava Duvernay won the prize for Entertainer of the Year for her work behind the camera.
Awards are being handed out left and right, so as another one bites the dust, we ready ourselves for the Screen Actors Guild Awards slated to determine where Oscar will be headed. That ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 21.