Denzel Washington wins NAACP award

For the fifth time in the last seven years, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People named actor Denzel Washington best actor on Saturday for his performance as a crooked cop in Training Day.

Washington squared off against some tough competition, including Will Smith, for his portrayal of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali in Ali. The two will go head-to-head again in the Best Actor category when the Academy Awards are handed out March 24, the first time two African Americans have been in the running for that award.

This is the third year in a row Washington has won the NAACP Image Award for best actor, having won for his work in the 2000 film Remember the Titans and the 1999 film The Hurricane.

Michael Mann‘s biopic Ali won the NAACP’s best movie award. Halle Berry won best actress, oddly enough, not for her Oscar-nominated role as a widowed mother in Monster’s Ball but for her performance as a spy in Swordfish.

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was honored with this year’s President’s Award, which last year went to former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Comedian Chris Rock hosted the festivities.