'Moonlight' and 'Loving' honored with NAACP Image Award noms


Nominations for the 48th NAACP Image Awards were announced Tuesday and the much-lauded independent film Moonlight received several nominations as a film and for its performances.  Additionally, several LGBTQ-inclusive television shows were also similarly honored, including Transparent and Orange is the New Black.

The coming of age story of a black inner city Miami youth as told through three stages in his life, Moonlight has been nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Independent Motion Picture.  It’s creator Barry Jenkins received two more noms for Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture (Film).  Additionally, two featured players received noms for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture:  Mahershala Ali (Juan) and Trevante Rhodes as the older Chiron.

Celebrating outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors, the NAACP Image Awards honors content and individuals across media categories, from television and film to literature and news.

Loving, the story of the U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down the ban on interracial marriages, becoming the foundational argument for winning marriage equality, was also nominated for Outstanding Motion Picture and Outstanding Independent Motion Picture.  Actress Ruth Negga (Mildred Loving) was nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, joined by Alano Miller (Raymond) in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture category.  It also garnered director Jeff Nichols a nom for Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.

Viola DavisIn addition to being nominated in the marquee category of Entertainer of the Year, Viola Davis was also nominated in the Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series category for her portrayal of bisexual lawyer and professor Annalise Keating on ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.  Of note, Beyonce was also nominated for Entertainer of the Year, setting the record this year at 9 total nominations.

Our Lady J at GLAAD AwardsWhen creator and showrunner Jill Soloway sought to bring more authenticity to her hit show Transparent, she reached out to trans classical pianist and songwriter Our Lady J to join their writing staff.  Our Lady J was just nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series category for the “If I Were a Bell” episode.

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

Several LGBTQ-inclusive television favorites were honored by the NAACP.  Atlanta (FX) received an Outstanding Comedy Series nom.  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 is Uzo Aduba (Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren), receiving a nom for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for OITNB.

Nominated for Outstanding Television Movie, Limited-Series or Dramatic Special, FX’ The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story featured out actress Sarah Paulson as prosecuting attorney Marcia Clark.  Receiving a nom for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Ltd.-Series or Dramatic Special, Audra McDonald gave a tour de force performance as the openly bisexual jazz vocalist and song stylist 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 his breakout performance as Titus Andromedon on Netflix’ Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Finishing up his third season on the hit FOX series Empire, out Jussie Smollett was also recognized in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series category.  During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2015, Smollett told the host that "there's never been a closet that [he's] been in."

Receiving Outstanding Drama Series nominations were FOX’s Empire and OWN’s Queen Sugar.  Nom’d for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series were Kerry Washington (ABC’s Scandal, and 2015 GLAAD Vanguard Award recipient) and Rutina Wesley of Queen Sugar.

Rounding out our highlights are NBC’s The Voice (Outstanding Reality Program/Reality Competition Series), which has featured out LGBTQ artists and showcased this year’s finalist Billy Gilman, and ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud (Outstanding Variety - Series or Special) which included Lance Bass’ family facing off against singer Kellie Pickler on a June episode.

NAACP Image Awards TrophyOverall, Walt Disney Studios led all other movie studios with 9 nominations, followed by Focus Features with 7, and A24 and Fox Searchlight with 6.  Looking at television, ABC led the pack with 23 noms, followed at a distance with HBO with 14.

Taking place within the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, this year’s NAACP Image Awards will air live on TV ONE on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 9 pm ET, and will be hosted by Anthony Anderson of ABC’s black-ish.