Sunday, March 4, 2007

Beautiful 'Images': Soaps, Daytime and Nightime, Polished at 38th NAACP Image Awards

People of color have always been soap opera's loudest, proudest, and most articlulate champions, and that tradition of support for and loyalty to "the stories" and telenovelas continued Friday night at the 38th Annual IMAGE Awards, presented by the storied National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (or NAACP).

The glamorous ceremony, hosted by musician and actor (Deep Blue Sea, Last Holiday) LL Cool J, again set itself apart from a number of other awards-season ceremonies by including daytime soaps in the nomination categories and winners circle, and honoring the serial-television medium in its nighttime selections as well.

Kristoff St. John, who plays business executive "Neil Winters" on CBS's top-rated THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, was honored as Best Actor in a Daytime Series in a year that has seen his character deal with the disintegration and then rebuilding of his family following a series of personal, medical, and legal challenges. St. John and Y&R, which has had an African-American family at the core of its action for over a decade, have been a frequent NAACP honorees over the years.

Tracey Ross, portrayer of physician "Eve Russell," on NBC's PASSIONS, was named Best Actress in a Daytime Series for a year that has seen her alter-ego deal with the end of a marriage and engagement, several key changes in relationships with her children (and presumed-children), and the continued coming out storyline of her character's lesbian teen daughter. In typical soap opera fashion, Ross's "Dr. Eve" is often the only available physician in the sudser's New England town, placing Ross at the center of several medically-based storyline twists over the past months.

(Sadly, though PASSIONS is one of the daytime's few soaps to feature a front burner and multi-generational black "core family," network officials recently announced plans to cancel the show to make room for a fourth hour of it's TODAY SHOW franchise.)

Nighttime soaps were honored as well, with ABC's serial comic sudser UGLY BETTY (adapted from it's similarly named predecessor telenovelas and daytime soaps in Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East), named Best Comedy and honored for Best Comedy Writing over traditionally nominated sitcoms, and sar Vanessa L. Williams ("Wilhelmina Slater") was given Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series honors.

Another ABC serial offering, popular drama GREY'S ANATOMY, was the big winner in the Dramatic Series categories, with awards going to writer Shonda Rimes, and actors Chandra Wilson (named Best Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Series for her portrayal of "Dr. Miranda Bailey") and Isiah Washington (named Best Actor in a Dramatic Series for his portrayal as "Dr. Preston Burke"). Grey's also took home top dramatic directing and writing honors.

Established in 1967, at the height of the civil rights movement, the NAACP Image Awards outstanding actors, actresses, writers, producers and directors in 36 competitive categories in the fields of motion picture, television, music and literature. Other winners this weekend included actors Forrest Whittaker, Jennifer Hudson, Keke Palmer, and Djimon Hounsou for film performances this past year, and musician Prince.

CNN's Soledad O'Brien was given the honorary President's Award for her work as a journalist and actor-comedian Bill Cosby was inducted into the Hall of Fame. The NAACP Image Awards Chairman's Award was presented to Irish rock-star and U2 frontman Bono. (A complete list of winners can be found here.)

OF NOTE: Again this year, Victoria Rowell ("Drucilla Barber Winters" on Y&R), a prior multiple award winner in consecutive years, asked that her name be withheld from consderation so that others in the medium might have a greater chance for recognition.

1 comment:

k/lennox said...

What a classy move by Victoria Rowell, she had won so many times (I don't know the exact number), but, I would have forgiven her if she had gone Kim Zimmer on us this year, her material was that good. Then again, maybe she foolishly thought Y&R's pre-noms wouldn't resemble my daughter's prom queen elections and she might have a chance at the Emmys. I respect her for quitting...that show has changed, and not for the better.

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