Countdown to the Image Awards: Who will win?

Nominees for the 45th NAACP Image Awards include; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Regina King and Angela Bassett,

The NAACP Image AwardsThe nominations are in and the countdown to the NAACP Image Awards has begun. In less than 10 days, the 45th NAACP Image Awards 2014 will present accolades in several categories from best movie, best song to best literary work of 2013. Scheduled to host this year’s show is Anthony Anderson. Cuba Gooding Jr., Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and Chris Tucker have served as hosts since 1994 when the first NAACP Image Awards was nationally televised on the Fox Network.

An award show established in 1967 at the height of the civil rights movement by NAACP’s Beverly Hills/Hollywood Branch who were concerned about the lack of recognition for minorities in entertainment, it has grown into a prestigious event.

”They celebrate and promote diversity and honor a lot of people who won’t get honored otherwise,” shares multiple award winning actress Tatyana Ali who received her third Image Award for her role in the CBS drama “The Young the Restless” at the 44th Awards ceremony. Indie Arie at the Image Awards

In a recent open letter slamming the Grammys on her twitter page, singer/songwriter and Image Awards recipient, India Arie (pictured right), stressed the need for the NAACP Image Awards. It’s a sentiment echoed by Terry Crews (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) who has previously been nominated for several awards for his role in the TV show “Everybody Hates Chris.”

“The Oscars, Grammys and the Golden Globes like us now, but before the NAACP what did we have?” asks Crews. “Some people think it’s outdated because you have black people winning Oscars, but this is more than just entertainment. It is literature and you are honoring dignitaries and people of color who are making a difference. It’s a big, big deal.”

Despite its popularity, the NAACP Image Awards has been the subject of controversy due to prior claims that certain nominees were undeserving of NAACP attention. In 1994, rapper Tupac Shakur was a nominee for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for the film “Poetic Justice” following sexual assault charges in December 1993. This caused a huge uproar among mainstream feminist leaders who lobbied for the NAACP to reconsider. Following that in 1994, R. Kelly’s album “Chocolate Factory” was nominated for Outstanding Album while the singer was under indictment for charges related to child pornography. In response, the NAACP argued that the quality of an artist’s work is the salient issue, with factors such as criminal charges inconsequential.

Brows were also raised in 2009 when Sean ‘P. Diddy’ Combs received the Outstanding Actor accolade for his portrayal of ‘Walter Lee’ in the television drama “A Raisin in the Sun”. The actor in his first major movie role was up against thespians Andre Braugher and Charles S. Dutton. This year, the organization failed to nominate Barkhad Abdi, the Somalian-American actor who played a pirate opposite Tom Hanks in the movie “Captain Phillips.” It’s a snub which executive co-producer of the Image Awards, Reginald Hudlin even found shocking.

”That was so crazy,” Hudlin said. “He gave an extraordinary performance and it always amazes me when I look over the list. I am happy for the folks who are nominated, but there are always people omitted and you wonder why.”Chiwetel and David

Nominees for the 45th NAACP Image Awards include; Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, David Oyelowo,

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India Arie, Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson, Nia Long, Brandy Norwood, Regina King, Angela Bassett, Sofia Vergara and Kerry Washington. Tyler Perry, Arsenio Hall, and Dennis Haysbert are just some of the celebrities slated to present awards. Paris Barclay and Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the first African-American Presidents of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, respectively, will be inducted into the Image Awards Hall of Fame.

Winners will be announced during a two-hour TV One telecast held at the Pasadena Auditorium, CA on Saturday, Feb 22.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Caribpress News-Magazine.

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