Perry, Keys also have big night at NAACP gala

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There was no debating which were the favored projects at the 39th NAACP Image Awards, where hyphenate Tyler Perry, musician Alicia Keys, and film “The Great Debaters” earned multiple kudos in an evening packed with over 50 awards.

“Debaters” — which received eight initial film nods — took home four wins, including actor (Denzel Washington), actress (Jurnee Smollett), supporting actor (Denzel Whitaker), and motion picture.

Focus’ “Talk To Me” earned kudos for scribes Michael Genet and Rick Famuyiwa, as well as for helmer Kasi Lemmons.

In the television categories, Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” hauled home three awards for comedy series, as well as actor and supporting actor in a comedy series (LaVan Davis and Lance Gross, respectively).

Perry’s other project of the year, film “Why Did I Get Married?”, earned Janet Jackson a supporting actress kudo.

Funny females America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams from “Ugly Betty” prevailed in the actress and supporting actress television categories.

“I love to be part of this show because it’s fun, but also because of what it stands for,” Ferrara said. “It’s done wonderful things for diversity in the television landscape.”

The “Grey’s Anatomy” team sliced through the competition with awards in best drama series, and supporting actress (Chandra Wilson). Writing kudos for the popular drama also went to scribes Shonda Rhimes and Krista Vernoff.

NAACP honored thesps in varying skeins in the drama categories, with “CSI: NY’s” Hill Harper earning the actor kudo, “The Unit’s” Regina Taylor in the corresponding actress category, and “House’s” Omar Epps with the supporting actor award.

Musicians Alicia Keys and Chris Brown received recognition for female and male artist, respectively. Keys also picked up awards for album (“As I Am”), as well as song and music video (“Like You’ll Never See Me Again”).

Most recent “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks commanded “Respect” with her performance of Aretha Franklin’s classic song, before Franklin picked up the 2007 Vanguard Award. Sparks then received her own distinction, named as outstanding new artist.

Franklin, who attended the first Image Awards show in 1969, called the show “sophisticated, rousing fun that rivals with the best and is second to none.”

Sidney Poitier paid tribute to Chairman’s Award honoree Ruby Dee in the form of a pre-taped speech. Musician nominee Angelique Kidjo also performed a song in Dee’s honor.

“I accept this award on behalf of all the members, past and present, that have been led by the light of the NAACP,” Dee said.

Image Awards Hall of Fame Inductee Stevie Wonder performed three songs and took the opportunity to stump for both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And the winners are…

TELEVISION CATEGORIES
Outstanding Comedy Series
Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne” (TBS)

Outstanding Actor in a Comedy Series
LaVan Davis — “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series
America Ferrera — “Ugly Betty” (ABC)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Lance Gross — “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” (TBS)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Vanessa L. Williams — “Ugly Betty” (ABC)

Outstanding Drama Series
“Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Hill Harper — “CSI: NY” (CBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series
Regina Taylor — “The Unit” (CBS)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Omar Epps — “House” (FOX)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Chandra Wilson — “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC)

Outstanding Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
“Life Support” (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Wendell Pierce — “Life Support” (HBO)

Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Queen Latifah — “Life Support” (HBO)

Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Drama Series
Kristoff St. John — “The Young And The Restless” (CBS)

Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series
Christel Khalil — “The Young And The Restless” (CBS)

Outstanding News/Information — (Series or Special)
“In Conversation: The Senator Barack Obama Interview” (TVOne)

Outstanding Talk — (Series)
“Tavis Smiley ‘Crisis in Darfur'” (PBS)

Outstanding Reality — (Series)
“Run’s House 4″ (MTV)

Outstanding Variety — (Series or Special)
“Celebration of Gospel ’07” (BET)

Outstanding Children’s Program
“That’s So Raven” (Disney Channel)

Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s Program -Series or Special
Raven-Symoné — “That’s So Raven” (Disney Channel)

RECORDING CATEGORIES
Outstanding New Artist
Jordin Sparks (Jive/Zomba)

Outstanding Male Artist
Chris Brown (Jive)

Outstanding Female Artist
Alicia Keys (J Records)

Outstanding Duo or Group
Eddie & Gerald Levert (Atlantic)

Outstanding Jazz Artist
Herbie Hancock (Verve)

Outstanding Gospel Artist — (Traditional or Contemporary)
Kirk Franklin (Gospocentric)

Outstanding World Music Album
Angelique Kidjo — “Djin Djin” (Razor & Tie)

Outstanding Music Video
“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” — Alicia Keys (J Records)

Outstanding Song
“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” — Alicia Keys (J Records)

Outstanding Album
Alicia Keys — “As I Am” (J Records)

LITERATURE CATEGORIES
Outstanding Literary Work — Fiction
“Blonde Faith” — Walter Mosley (Little, Brown & Company)

Outstanding Literary Work — Non-Fiction
“Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond” — Don Cheadle, John Prendergast (Hyperion)

Outstanding Literary Work — Debut Author
“The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir” — Victoria Rowell (Harper Collins)

Outstanding Literary Work — Biography/Auto-Biography
“Obama: From Promise to Power” — David Mendell (Harper Collins/Amistad)

Outstanding Literary Work — Instructional
“The Covenant in Action” — Tavis Smiley (Smiley Books)

Outstanding Literary Work — Poetry
“Acolytes: Poems” — Nikki Giovanni (Harper Collins/William Morrow)

Outstanding Literary Work — Children
“Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson” — Sue Stauffacher,Author; Greg Couch, Illustrator (Random House)

Outstanding Literary Work — Youth/Teens
“More Than Entertainers: An Inspirational Black Career Guide” — Charles B. Schooler, Author; Gary Young, Illustrator (Zenith Publishing)

MOTION PICTURE CATEGORIES
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Denzel Washington — “The Great Debaters” (The Weinstein Co.)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Jurnee Smollett — “The Great Debaters” (The Weinstein Co.)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Denzel Whitaker — “The Great Debaters” (The Weinstein Co.)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Janet Jackson — “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” (Lionsgate Films)

Outstanding Motion Picture
“The Great Debaters” (The Weinstein Co.)

Outstanding Independent or Foreign Film
“Honeydripper” (Emerging Pictures)

Outstanding Documentary
“Darfur Now” (Warner Independent Pictures)

WRITING CATEGORIES
Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
Ali LeRoi — “Everybody Hates Chris: Everybody Hates Guidance Counselor” (CW)

Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series
Shonda Rhimes and Krista Vernoff — “Grey’s Anatomy: A Change is Gonna Come” (ABC)

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)
Michael Genet and Rick Famuyiwa — “Talk To Me” (Focus Features)

DIRECTING CATEGORIES
Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series
Ken Whittingham — “The Office: Phyllis’s Wedding” (NBC)

Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series
Seith Mann — “Friday Night Lights: Are You Ready For Friday Night?” (NBC)

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television)
Kasi Lemmons — “Talk To Me” (Focus Features)

ALSO:
Image Awards Hall of Fame Inductee: Stevie Wonder
Vanguard Award: Aretha Franklin
Chariman’s Award: Ruby Dee

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