Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson picked up acting prizes at the NAACP Image Awards on Friday, just six days after their Oscar wins.
Whitaker was named Best Actor for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, while Hudson garnered Best Supporting Actress for her role as Effie White in Dreamgirls at the star-studded ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Accepting his award, Whitaker said, "Doing this role gave me so many blessings. One was being able to go back to Africa and touch my roots."
Hudson gushed, "There is nothing like being recognized and honored by your own."
Keke Palmer picked up the coveted Best Actress award for Akeelah and the Bee, while Djimon Hounsou was named Best Supporting Actor for Blood Diamond, after losing out in the same category last weekend at the Academy Awards.
Will Smith's movie The Pursuit of Happyness won the Best Motion Picture honor, and Spike Lee was named Best Director for Inside Man.
In the TV categories, Grey's Anatomy star Isaiah Washington received Best Actor for a Drama Series and his costar Chandra Wilson accepted Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Other winners in TV included Vanessa Williams for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy for Ugly Betty--which was named Best Television Comedy Series--Tyler James Williams for Actor in a Comedy Series in Everybody Hates Chris, and Tracee Ellis Ross for Actress in a Comedy Series in Girlfriends.
In music, Prince and Mary J. Blige picked up Male Artist and Female Artist, respectively, The Roots in the Group category, and Gladys Knight for Jazz Artist.
Comedian Bill Cosby was inducted into the NAACP Image Awards Hall of Fame and U2 frontman Bono received the Chairman's Award for his tireless campaigner against world poverty and debt.
The Image awards are given out annually by America's National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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So much for TV's same old, same old.
The nominations for the 54th Annual Primetime Emmys signaled a significant shift in the landscape of television's most honored series and performers, with perennial favorites like ER, The Practice, The X-Files and NYPD Blue (the latter ineligible due to a lack of new episodes) losing steam among Academy of Television Arts & Sciences voters in favor of up-and-coming shows like Six Feet Under, Alias, 24 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Nobody better signified the Emmy voters' changing tastes than Will & Grace star and this morning's nomination announcer Eric McCormack. After ER actress Laura Innes read off a list of names in the lead actor in a comedy category that did not include his own, he executed a perfectly timed, Jack Benny-esque slow look over his shoulder to assure he had heard correctly.
"It's just as well," the Emmy winner--and impending father-to-be--sighed. "You know how hard it is to get a sitter." The nonplussed star nevertheless beamed when his show and co-stars Debra Messing, Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally each received nominations.
McCormack played his shut-out for laughs, but a dramatic shift in preferences marked this year's nominations. Still, despite having no new episodes of The Sopranos to submit, HBO again emerged as the network with the most nominations, an astounding 93 nods. Six Feet Under delivered the most of any series this year with 23, and the pay cable net also scored nods for its enduring Sex and the City (ten), newcomer Curb Your Enthusiasm, miniseries Band of Brothers and several of its pay cable movies.
The new crop of freshman faves include Alias (nine noms, including acting accolades for Jennifer Garner and Victor Garber), 24 (ten, including nods for best drama and lead actor Kiefer Sutherland) and comedian Bernie Mac, who got his first nomination in the lead actor in a comedy series for the initial season of his eponymous Fox sitcom. Michael Chiklis, star of the scathing new F/X crime drama The Shield, also earned his first kudo as lead actor in drama.
But in spite of near shut-outs in major categories for former Emmy shoo-ins like ER, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Law & Order, at least one principal network had plenty of reasons to be as proud as a peacock. NBC nabbed 89 nominations, bolstered by the still-powerhouse The West Wing (21 nods), Will & Grace (13) and a resurgently popular Friends (11). Indeed, this year marked the strongest showing yet by the latter show's cast members, who for the first time decided to submit themselves in the comedy lead categories rather than the supporting slots.
The gambit paid off: buoyed by this season's Rachel-Joey-Ross triangle, Jennifer Aniston and Matt LeBlanc scored nods, though David Schwimmer was edged out by Matthew Perry. Aniston's real-life hubby Brad Pitt even earned a nomination for his guest appearance on the series.
The network's graying show Frasier still snared a very respectable nine nominations, including acting nods for lead Kelsey Grammer and supporting actor David Hyde Pierce, along with guest actors Brian Cox, Adam Arkin and Anthony LaPaglia. The series is only two Emmy wins away from tying the all-time win mark set by The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
It seems that actors looking to make a bid for the winged trophies need only get their agents to wrangle them a role on The West Wing. Not only did previous Emmy winners Martin Sheen and Allison Janney (bumped up this year to the lead actress category) score approval, the Oval Office drama earned supporting nominations for regular cast members Dule Hill, John Spencer, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Janel Moloney, Stockard Channing and Mary-Louise Parker, as well as for guest actors Ron Silver, Tim Matheson and Mark Harmon.
Whitford and Jane Kaczmarek continue to be the favorite real-life husband-and-wife choice among Emmy voters, with Kaczmarek getting a lead comedy actress nod for her role on Fox's , while her TV hubby Bryan Cranston got his first-ever lead comedy actor nod for the series.
CBS must love Everybody Loves Raymond for turning out one of its strongest performances yet with 11 nominations, and each of the sitcom's lead actors earned a berth in their respective categories, as did guest actress Katherine Helmond. The eye net's sophomore series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, one of the most-watched shows on TV, garnered six nods, including one for outstanding drama series, yet none of the show's actors were singled out.
"Singled out" sounds like a term the Sex and the City gals would never want to hear, but while Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and even veteran character actress Frances Sternhagen (who plays Charlotte's blue-blood mother-in-law Bunny) woke up to Emmy nominations, Kristin Davis somehow slipped through the cracks again despite an emotionally weighty season.
Finally, it apparently helps you get an Emmy nomination if you already have an Academy Award, or at least a nomination, on your mantel. Among the performers previously tapped for film's Golden Guy who earned Emmy nods in various categories this year: Albert Finney, Angela Bassett, Sissy Spacek, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Jon Voight, Vanessa Redgrave, Laura Linney, Kenneth Branagh, Joan Allen, Michael Douglas, Anjelica Huston, Glenn Close and Cloris Leachman. Even Tom Hanks and directors Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott got acknowledged in the producer categories.
ATAS will hand out the Emmy trophies on Sunday, Sept. 22, at a black-tie ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Highlights of the 2001-2002 Primetime Emmy Award Nominations:
Outstanding Drama Series
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Law & Order (NBC)
Six Feet Under (HBO)
The West Wing (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Michael Chiklis, The Shield
Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under
Peter Krause, Six Feet Under
Kiefer Sutherland, 24
Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Jennifer Garner, Alias
Amy Brenneman, Judging Amy
Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under
Frances Conroy, Six Feet Under
Allison Janney, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Victor Garber, Alias
Freddy Rodriguez, Six Feet Under
Dulé Hill, The West Wing
John Spencer, The West Wing
Bradley Whitford, The West Wing
Richard Schiff, The West Wing
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Tyne Daly, Judging Amy
Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under
Mary-Louise Parker, The West Wing
Stockard Channing, The West Wing
Janel Moloney, The West Wing
Outstanding Comedy Series
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Everybody Loves Raymond (CBS)
Sex and the City (HBO)
Will & Grace (NBC)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Bernie Mac, The Bernie Mac Show
Ray Romano, Everybody Loves Raymond
Kelsey Grammer, Frasier
Matt LeBlanc, Friends
Matthew Perry, Friends
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond
Jennifer Aniston, Friends
Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle
Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City
Debra Messing, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Peter Boyle, Everybody Loves Raymond
Brad Garrett, Everybody Loves Raymond
David Hyde Pierce, Frasier
Bryan Cranston, Malcolm in the Middle
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Doris Roberts, Everybody Loves Raymond
Wendie Malick, Just Shoot Me
Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City
Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City
Megan Mullally, Will & Grace
MINISERIES AND MOVIES
Band of Brothers (HBO)
The Mists of Avalon (TNT)
Outstanding Made for Television Movie
Dinner With Friends (HBO)
The Gathering Storm (HBO)
James Dean (TNT)
The Laramie Project (HBO)
Path To War (HBO)
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Albert Finney, The Gathering Storm
James Franco, James Dean
Sir Michael Gambon, Path To War
Kenneth Branagh, Shackleton
Beau Bridges, We Were the Mulvaneys
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Vanessa Redgrave, The Gathering Storm
Angela Bassett, The Rosa Parks Story
Blythe Danner, We Were the Mulvaneys
Laura Linney, Wild Iris
Gena Rowlands, Wild Iris
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
Jim Broadbent, The Gathering Storm
Michael Moriarty, James Dean
Alec Baldwin, Path To War
Don Cheadle, Things Behind the Sun
Jon Voight, Uprising
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
Sissy Spacek, Last Call
Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story
Joan Allen, The Mists of Avalon
Anjelica Huston, The Mists of Avalon
Dame Diana Rigg, Victoria and Albert
Outstanding Guest Actor in aDrama Series
John Larroquette, The Practice
Charles S. Dutton, The Practice
Ron Silver, The West Wing
Tim Matheson, The West Wing
Mark Harmon, The West Wing
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Mary McDonnell, ER
Martha Plimpton, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Patricia Clarkson, Six Feet Under
Lili Taylor, Six Feet Under
Illeana Douglas, Six Feet Under
Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Adam Arkin, Frasier
Anthony LaPaglia, Frasier
Brian Cox, Frasier
Brad Pitt, Friends
Michael Douglas, Will & Grace
Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Katherine Helmond, Everybody Loves Raymond
Susan Sarandon, Malcolm in the Middle
Cloris Leachman, Malcolm in the Middle
Frances Sternhagen, Sex and the City
Glenn Close, Will & Grace
Everyone is hot on the trail for the new miss thang in Hollywood--Brittany Murphy (Girl, Interrupted). She's got 'em all talking about Oscars and what not, especially in her new movie, Don't Say a Word, with Michael Douglas, in which she once again plays a trouble lass stuck in a mental institution. She's also costarring with Drew Barrymore in Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars with Boys, due in Oct. And now she's signed up to join Mekhi Phifer (O) in The Untitled Detroit Project directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) and also starring rapper Eminem, in his first feature film.
This is what I read in the Hollywood Reporter about the film: "An honest and provocative fictional examination of a critical month in the life of a young man named Jimmy (Eminem) as he searches for identity and a sense of purpose. Against the familiar backdrop of indifference and community decay, he learns to express his anger, fears and frustration as he struggles to transcend his bleak circumstances." In other words, Eminem plays a street punk who tries to break out. Why can't they just say that? Geez, they're trying to make it sound like an Ivory/Merchant film. Murphy is going to play Eminem's girlfriend. Lucky girl.
Vin Diesel: Part I
The buff star of The Fast and the Furious is banking some serious bucks lately. He's going to do the sequel to his claim-to-fame film Pitch Black for a reported $11 million. Not bad. The sequel is called The Chronicles of Riddick, in which Diesel will reprise his role as Riddick, a brooding convict who was being transported as part of a space mission that got shipwrecked on a mysterious planet. You remember, where the big bad bug-things came out at night and ate most of the cast? Sure. But Diesel's big payday didn't come easy. Apparently the studio brass had a difficult time shelling out the dough to get Diesel, but hey, he keeps making movies that do well at the box office. So, he's got the clout.
Vin Diesel: Part II
And that's not all Diesel is doing. He's also got a new film starting production in November called XXX. I don't believe there's any porno in it, but I could be wrong. Samuel L. Jackson is in negotiations to join the film as a government agent who recruits and trains Diesel's character for an undercover operation designed to infiltrate a Russian crime ring. Apparently, Diesel is playing one tough mother in XXX, a cross between James Bond and Limp Bizkit's lead singer Fred Durst, and will be performing some death defying stunts. And his asking price is only $10 million for this one. OK. Whatever.
Travolta and Jackson's "Basic" instinct
Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson...Pulp Fiction fans have a new reason to rejoice: John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson--who both starred in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 hit--are pairing up again for Phoenix Pictures' new military thriller Basic, set to begin production in November. Hold on-didn't I just say XXX was shooting in November? How is Jackson going to manage that one? Oh, who knows. He's Samuel L. Jackson; he can do anything he wants. In Basic, he and Travolta will play the leads in a drama centering on a Drug Enforcement Agency officer's investigation of the mysterious disappearance of a famed U.S. Army drill instructor and a group of cadets. John McTiernan (The Thomas Crown Affair) will direct Basic based on the screenplay by newcomer James Vanderbilt.
A date with Cool J
LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea) and Gabrielle Union (Two Can Play That Game) are going to star in the USA Film's Deliver Us From Eva about three guys who pay a smooth ladies' man (LL Cool J) $5,000 to go out with their meddling sister-in-law, Eva (Union). However, after a disastrous first date, the unlikely pair begins to fall for each other, while the three men are left without much help. Sorry, LL and Gabrielle, you two are interesting up-and-coming actors, but this script sounds pretty lame.
Just a couple of quick tidbits about movie actors going back to the thee-a-tar: First, Jason Biggs, that lovable goof ball from the American Pie series is going to be recreating the immortal Benjamin Braddock in the Broadway stage production of The Graduate. Of course, Ben was brought to life so vividly by Dustin Hoffman in the classic 1967 Mike Nichols' film, so Biggs has some big shoes to fill. Kathleen Turner is taking on the Anne Bancroft role of Mrs. Robinson and Alicia Silverstone will play daughter Elaine Robinson, played by Katharine Ross in the film. This casting choice makes me cringe a little.
And second, the lovely and talented Vanessa Williams (who would have thought a Miss America would turn out so well) will be reviving the role of the witch in an updated stage production of the James Lapine/Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods. The part was originally played by Bernadette Peters in 1987, who simply wowed them as the main foil to the travails of some fairy tale bigshots. But no matter, I'm sure Williams will give it her all.