Movie musical Dreamgirls walked away with six prizes at the Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film's (FAAAF) Black Reel Awards today, including Best Film.
Dreamgirls also won Best Supporting Actress and Best Breakthrough Performance for Jennifer Hudson, Best Original Score, Best Original Soundtrack and Best Song for “And I'm Telling You.”
The film had set a new record by becoming the first movie to land more than 10 nominations in the event's 11-year history.
Elsewhere, Oscar favorite Forest Whitaker won Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland and Keke Palmer's performance in Akeelah and the Bee landed her Best Actress.
Best Supporting Actor went to Djimon Hounsou for Blood Diamond.
Spike Lee won Best Director for Inside Man, while his When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts picked up Best Television Documentary.
The full list of winners is:
Best Actor--Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland
Best Actress--Keke Palmer, Akeelah and the Bee
Best Supporting Actor--Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond
Best Supporting Actress--Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Best Director--Spike Lee, Inside Man
Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted--Kriss Turner, Something New
Best Breakthrough Performance--Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls
Best Original Score--Dreamgirls, By Harvey Mason Jr. and Damon Thomas
Best Original Soundtrack--Dreamgirls
Best Song, Original or Adapted—“And I'm Telling You,” By Henry Krieger and Tom Eyen, Dreamgirls
Best Documentary--The Heart of the Game
Best Independent Feature--Traci Townsend
Best Independent Documentary--Ithueng
Best Independent Mini Feature--Snapshot
Best Independent Mini Documentary--God Sleeps in Rwanda
Best Actor--Andre Braugher, Thief
Best Actress--Alex Vega, Walkout
Best Supporting Actor--Michael Pena, Walkout
Best Supporting Actress--Alfre Woodard, The Water Is Wide
Best Television Director--Edward James Olmos, Walkout
Best Television Film--Walkout
Best Television Documentary--When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
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The film centers on yet another over-achieving career woman Kenya McQueen (Sanaa Lathan) who is beautiful stylish and successful but can’t find the right man to save her life. You know the type. She would have given up by now if it weren’t for her three close girlfriends (Wendy Raquel Robinson Taraji P. Henson Golden Brooks) who exact a fair amount of peer pressure to keep her in the game. Kenya finally agrees to go on a blind date with Brian Kelly (Simon Baker) a sexy landscape architect who turns out to be not exactly what she'd pictured for herself. You know because she’s an uptight black woman and he’s a free-spirited white man. And there's our conflict. Should Kenya stay the straight and narrow path or follow her heart--no matter where it takes her? That’s a rhetorical question of course. Lathan has had a nice steady career making likable urban romantic comedies (Love and Basketball Brown Sugar) so she fits easily into Something New’s milieu. As Kenya the actress is effectively professional and whip-smart at work but also does a nice job playing up the character’s insecurities in her personal life. By being so very high maintenance one wonders why the almost-too-good-to-be-true Brian would even fall for her. But that’s what Something New has going for it--Baker (The Ring Two) and Lathan make their connection seem palpable and genuine. The movie really steams up when these two are on screen together. As for the rest they add flavor wherever necessary especially Donald Faison (TV’s Scrubs) as Kenya’s womanizing brother and Alfre Woodard who does a surprising turn as Kenya’s materialistic snobbish mother. Written directed and produced by women of color Something New wants to make a statement about the pressures professional women--in this case black women--have trying to find love and commitment in their lives. Successful producer Stephanie Allain (Hustle & Flow) and screenwriter Kriss Turner were both inspired by an article they read in the Detroit Free Press about how 42.4 percent of black women have never been married which then lead them to the idea that if you’re in your 30s and single are you going to open things up and look outside your race? This delicate subject matter in Something New’s is skillfully handled by first-time director Sanaa Hamri who adequately shows the fine line. But despite its sweet temperament the film ultimately lapses into ordinary and predictable rom-com fare. After all you got to have the Hollywood ending right?