'Moonlight' snags four statues, LGBTQ talent and content shine at the NAACP Image Awards

Celebrating outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, the 48th NAACP Image Awards aired tonight live from Pasadena, CA, and LGBTQ stories and talent were among those honored.

Moonlight took home the award for Outstanding Independent Motion Picture, along with wins for Mahershala Ali in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in Motion Picture category, and Barry Jenkins, who won in both the outstanding directing and writing categories.The coming of age story of a black inner city Miami youth as told through three stages in his life, the film was nominated in a total of six categories.

In the television categories, Queen Sugar, in its first year, snagged the award for Outstanding Television Drama, and Ava DuVernay won the Outstanding Writing award for her work on the series. Jussie Smollett took home the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award for his breakout role on Empireand The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Storystarring out actress Sarah Paulson in the role of Marcia Clark, enjoyed wins in three categories. 

But tonight's winners are just a sampling of the LGBTQ-inclusive nominees at this year's Image Awards in what was a banner year for LGBTQ storylines, characters, and talent.

In addition to being nominated in the marquee category of Entertainer of the Year, Viola Davis was also up for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of bisexual lawyer and professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder

Meanwhile, transgender classical pianist and songwriter Our Lady J was among the nominees in the  Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series category for her work on Transparent.

Out director, showrunner and President of the Directors Guild of America, Paris Barclay was nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the pilot episode of FOX’ Pitch.  In the Comedy Series category, Marta Cunningham received recognition with an Outstanding Directing nomination for the “Exciting and New” episode of Amazon’s Transparent.

Several LGBTQ-inclusive television favorites were also honored by the NAACP with nominations.  Atlanta (FX) was up for Outstanding Comedy Series.  Award-winning actress and trans advocate Laverne Cox was nominated as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Sophia in Netflix’ Orange is the New Black.  Joining Laverne was her co-star Uzo Aduba (Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren), with a nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series.

Receiving a nomination for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special, Audra McDonald was recognized for her tperformance as the openly bisexual jazz vocalist of the 1930’s, Billie Holiday, in HBO’s Lady Day in Emerson’s Bar & Grill.

Tituss Burgess was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for role Titus Andromedon on Netflix’ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  

For a full list of nominees and winners, click here

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