The 45th Annual NAACP Image Awards are on the way and as usual, some of the biggest stars in the entertainment firmament will be honored. It airs live on TV One on Saturday, February 22 with red carpet coverage at 8 p.m. and the show at 9 p.m. ET. (The show is tape delayed for the West Coast. Among the big nominees is the BET show Being Mary Jane which leads the network’s 19 nominations.
The Weinstein Company which produced Fruitvale Station, is second with 17 nods. RCA Records leads the music nominations with 10.
“This has been an incredible year from the artistic community, with phenomenal contributions across the board from the music, television, motion picture, and literature genres that have the power and impact to drive social change,” stated Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the NAACP.
“The NAACP Image Awards provides an excellent venue to recognize those who make a difference through art and activism, and we are excited to honor and celebrate this caliber of talent.”
We took at look at some of the tightest races in the top categories so we could pick who we think should win and who’s really going to win. Here are our choices for top winners at the NAACP Image Awards.
Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
· Being Mary Jane (BET)
· Betty & Coretta (Lifetime)
· CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (VH1)
· Luther (BBC America)
· Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (HBO)
Who Will Win: Betty and Coretta
Who Should Win: CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story Although Betty and Coretta is a worthy project, we’ve seen stories about these courageous women and their undeniable contributions before. But the story of three ambitious women seeking fame and then finding it not quite what they thought it would be was well done and true to the facts.
Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
· Angela Bassett – American Horror Story: Coven (FX Networks)
· Angela Bassett – Betty & Coretta (Lifetime)
· Gabourey Sidibe – American Horror Story: Coven (FX Networks)
· Gabrielle Union – Being Mary Jane (BET)
· Keke Palmer – CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story (VH1)
Who Should Win: Angela Bassett American Horror Story: Coven
Who Will Win: Angela Bassett Betty and Coretta It’s hard to argue against playing one of the most notable women in the civil rights era, but Bassett is doing some serious work on American Horror Story. Either way, in a category where she’s competing against herself, expect her to pick up a trophy here.
Outstanding Talk Series
· Oprah’s Lifeclass (OWN)
· Oprah’s Next Chapter (OWN)
· Steve Harvey (Syndicated)
· The Arsenio Hall Show (Syndicated)
· The Queen Latifah Show (Syndicated)
Who Will Win: The Arsenio Hall Show
Who Should Win: Oprah’s Lifeclass
Arsenio will get the nostalgia vote and we have to admit, the reboot of his famed 90’s talk show is pretty damn good. But Oprah’s “Lifeclass” is taking on significant issues and providing reasoned solutions, so she gets our vote, although she already has every award ever given out.
Outstanding Reality Series
· Iyanla: Fix My Life (OWN)
· Shark Tank (ABC)
· Sunday Best (BET)
· The Voice (NBC)
· Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s (OWN)
Who Will Win: Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s
Who Should Win: Shark Tank
As much as we love Robbie Montgomery and appreciate her showing a woman of a certain age who’s vibrant and handing her business, nothing beats the suspense and good business tips on the ever watchable “Shark Tank.”
Outstanding Female Artist
· Beyoncé (Columbia Records)
· India.Arie (Motown Records)
· Janelle Monáe (Bad Boy/Atlantic)
· Ledisi (Verve Records)
· Mary J Blige (Verve Records/Interscope)
Who Will Win: Janelle Monae
Who Should Win: Ledisi
Janelle Monae definitely has made image a big part of her presentation and her music is outside of the normal R&B he-done-me-wrong-song box. But we adore Ledisi’s voice and music and wonder why can’t this gifted get a break awards-wise?
Outstanding Music Video
· “Cocoa Butter” – India.Arie (Motown Records)
· “Fire We Make” – Alicia Keys feat. Maxwell (RCA Records)
· “Made To Love” – John Legend (Columbia Records)
· “Q.U.E.E.N.” – Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu (Bad Boy/Atlantic)
· “Treasure” – Bruno Mars (Atlantic Records)
What Will Win: Q.U.E.E.N because how can Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu together lose? (Unless people consider Badu’s controversial naked video or the one where her sister was naked with dubious liquids being poured over her).
Who Should Win: “Fire We Make” because it’s a great song with a great video. Oh, and Maxwell’s in it.
Outstanding Motion Picture
· 12 Years A Slave (River Road/Plan B/New Regency/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
· Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company/Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, OG Project)
· Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company/Lee Daniels Entertainment, Laura Ziskin Productions, Windy Hill Pictures, Follow Through Productions, Salamander Pictures, Pam Williams Productions)
· Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (The Weinstein Company/Distant Horizon, Origin Pictures, Pathé, Videovision Entertainment)
· The Best Man Holiday (Universal Pictures)
What Will Win: 12 Years a Slave
What Should Win: Lee Daniels’ The Butler
In terms of image, all of these movies advance the cause of African-American depiction in cinema, showing balanced portrayals of everyone from an imperfect young man killed by police to a longtime White House employee. While 12 Years was an important look at the brutality of slavery, The Butler showed the multifaceted parts of a loving Black family. We think it deserves at least one award for that.
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
· Chadwick Boseman – 42 (Warner Bros. Pictures/Legendary Pictures)
· Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years A Slave (River Road/Plan B/New Regency/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
· Forest Whitaker – Lee Daniels’ The Butler (The Weinstein Company/Lee Daniels Entertainment, Laura Ziskin Productions, Windy Hill Pictures, Follow Through Productions, Salamander Pictures, Pam Williams Productions)
· Idris Elba – Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (The Weinstein Company/Distant Horizon, Origin Pictures, Pathé, Videovision Entertainment)
· Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station (The Weinstein Company/Forest Whitaker’s Significant Productions, OG Project)
Who Will Win: Idris Elba
Who Should Win: Michael B. Jordan
Although Elba plays the recently deceased leader of a nation, Jordan’s work is much more subtle as the martyred Oscar Grant. He plays a flawed character who is killed before he ever has a chance to evolve into the man he could have been and does so with pathos and honesty. We hope he can pick up here what he was denied elsewhere.