Up for 8 nominations at the 39th Annual NAACP Image Awards, the Weinstein Company's drama "The Great Debaters" headlined the feature films' winners of the event. On Thursday, February 14, night, the film inspired by Melvin Tolson's story brought home 4 top prizes presented on the ceremony.
On the special night, "Debaters", which stirred controversies earlier for allegedly being historically inaccurate, was hailed as the best motion picture winner besting over acclaimed legal drama "American Gangster", blockbuster horror thriller "I Am Legend", biopic drama "Talk To Me" and comedy drama "Why Did I Get Married?". The film also nabbed three other kudos for its theps, Denzel Washington, Jurnee Smolett and Denzel Whitaker for best actor, actress and supporting actor respectively.
For his supporting actor recognition, Whitaker beat out his fellow nominated co-stars, Forest Whitaker and Nate Parker as well as "Talk" star Chiwetel Ejiofor and the man behind "Why" Tyler Perry. Partly commenting on Whitaker's win, Washington said, "I'll be at that other show next week, but my heart is here. I'm just so happy to see these young people get recognized."
Though nailing the performer's prize, Washington who was also nominated for the category of directing has to admit defeat from Kasi Lemmons who gained recognition for her outstanding direction in "Talk". Aside from losing the directing award, Washington's film also has to give up the screenwriters prize as the kudo went to "Talk" penners Michael Genet and Rick Famuyiwa.
The ceremony hosted by stand-up comic DL Hughley also see singer/actress Janet Jackson named as best supporting actress for her performance in Tyler Perry's "Why". Meanwhile, the independent or foreign film award went to "Honeydripper" and best documentary prize was given to "Darfur Now". Further, it also gave away awards in other categories, including television and recording.
The motion picture winners list of the 39th annual NAACP Image Awards: