Kerry picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture crown for her portrayal of a slave in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, while an absent Denzel was a Best Actor winner for his alcoholic pilot role in Flight.
Emotional Kerry Washington dedicated her trophy to "our ancestors," adding, "We shot this film on a slave plantation in the south. They were with us every step of the way."
And she used her acceptance speech to praise Tarantino for making the movie and casting her in it.
She said, "Thank you for telling this story."
The slave film had nominations in four categories going into the awards show, including one for Best Picture.
Other early Image Award winners included Loretta Devine (Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for Grey's Anatomy) and Lance Gross (Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tyler Perry's House of Payne), while Viola Davis picked up the Best Actress honour for her role in Won't Back Down.