Denzel Washington‘s 2007 movie The Great Debaters took the top prize at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards in Los Angeles.
The movie–which Washington both directed and acted in–was named best film, with acting prizes also going to its stars Washington, Jurnee Smollett and teenager Denzel Whitaker.
As he collected his award at Thursday’s ceremony at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Washington was keen to point out that the NAACP Image Awards mean much more to him than the Oscars.
He said, “I’ll be at that other show (the Academy Awards) next week, but my heart is here. I’m just so happy to see these young people get recognized.”
Singer/actress Janet Jackson landed the award for best supporting actress in a motion picture for her turn as a psychiatrist in Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?.
Perry was also a big winner in the TV categories, with his sitcom Tyler Perry’s House of Payne taking the honor for best comedy series, and stars LaVan Davis and Lance Gross given nods in the acting categories.
Medical drama Grey’s Anatomy won the award for best drama series, while the show’s star Chandra Wilson landed an acting prize and creator Shonda Rhimes was honored for writing.
The best actor in a drama series trophy went to Hill Harper of CSI: NY, and Ugly Betty‘s Vanessa Williams also took home a gong–winning the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series.
Stevie Wonder was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Fame, and special honors were given to Aretha Franklin and Oscar-nominated actress Ruby Dee.
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