The historical epic 12 Years A Slave has swept the film categories at the NAACP Image Awards with four wins.
The film’s prizes at yesterday’s 45th annual awards ceremony honouring diversity in the arts included outstanding motion picture, directing for Steve McQueen, writing for John Ridley and supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o.
“It’s been a historical year in film for all of us in this room, and I’m so proud to be a part of that history,” Lupita said.
“It’s such an honour to be recognised for a film that has meant so much to so many people, a film that has inspired discourse long overdue.”
The drama picked up two of the big awards at this year’s Baftas, winning the leading actor award for its star Chiwetel Ejiofor, while it was also named best film.
Kevin Hart won entertainer of the year and actor in a comedy series for Real Husbands Of Hollywood, his reality TV satire that was also selected as outstanding comedy series.
Kerry Washington picked up her fifth Image Award as outstanding actress in a drama series for her role as crisis management consultant Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal, which was also honoured as outstanding drama series.
Other winners at the ceremony at Pasadena Civic Auditorium, California, hosted by actor Anthony Anderson included David Oyelowo as supporting actor in a motion picture for Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
“Thank you America for embracing me,” the British actor said. “I’m one of those guys with the funny accent.”
Forest Whitaker won the actor in a motion picture prize for The Butler. Forest, who founded the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative, was also honoured with the NAACP Chairman’s Award, which recognises distinguished public service.
He serves as the chairman of the International Institute for Peace and is a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
“All I’ve tried to do with my life and work is to deeper my connection with humanity, so I’ve lived by the words of an old Nat King Cole song my daddy used to play on his stereo, which is, ‘The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return,’” he said.
Oprah Winfrey and Stevie Wonder paid tribute to Nelson Mandela, the late South African leader who died last year.
“We can each reflect, I do believe, the greatness he inspired in all of us,” said Oprah. “I have to say sitting at his funeral and watching that casket go into the ground, I miss him dearly. I want you all to know that his life was an example to us all.”
Several winners were previously announced, including in the music section John Legend as male artist, Beyonce as female artist and Robin Thicke, TI and Pharrell as group or collaboration for their hit tune Blurred Lines.
The awards are presented annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and the civil rights group’s members select the winners