Jennifer Hudson and Will Smith were big winners at the 2022 NAACP Image Awards, which were presented on Feb. 26. The virtual show aired on BET and was simulcast on several of its sister ViacomCBS networks.
Hudson took two awards — entertainer of the year and outstanding actress in a motion picture for playing Aretha Franklin in Respect. This makes up for her disappointing showing in the Oscar nominations, where she was passed over for both best actress and best original song.
It’s the second year in a row the NAACP award for outstanding actress in a motion picture has gone to someone for playing a music legend. Viola Davis won last year for playing blues great Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.
Smith won outstanding actor in a motion picture for his performance in King Richard. It’s his second win in the category, following a 2009 win for Seven Pounds. But it’s the first time he has won in competition with Denzel Washington, a 13-time winner in the category. Washington was nominated this year for The Tragedy of Macbeth. The actors will compete again at the Oscars on March 27.
The Netflix film The Harder They Fall won outstanding motion picture. It was passed over for an Oscar nod for best picture, as were the past two winners in the category, Just Mercy and Bad Boys for Life. The Harder They Fall beat King Richard, which is an Oscar best picture nominee; Judas and the Black Messiah, which was an Oscar best picture nominee last year; and two other films that were passed over for Oscar best picture nods, The United States vs. Billie Holiday and Respect.
The Harder They Fall won four pre-telecast awards — outstanding ensemble cast in a motion picture; outstanding breakthrough creative (motion picture) to Jeymes Samuel, who directed, co-wrote, co-produced and scored the film; outstanding soundtrack/compilation album to Jay-Z and Samuel; and outstanding supporting actress in a motion picture to Regina King.
The Harder They Fall and the HBO series Insecure led this year’s NAACP Image Award nominations, with 12 nods each.
Insecure won as outstanding comedy series for the second year in a row, having ended black-ish’s six-year reign last year. Its star Issa Rae won outstanding actress in a comedy series for the second year.
Anthony Anderson, the star of black-ish, hosted the NAACP Image Awards for the ninth year. He also won outstanding actor in a comedy series for the seventh time.
Actor Samuel L. Jackson was presented with the NAACP Chairman’s Award. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex, received the President’s Award. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, was presented with the Social Justice Impact Award.
Mary J. Blige sang a medley, filmed at the fabled Apollo Theater in Harlem, which included her current hit “Good Morning Gorgeous.” Earlier in the week, she won an NAACP Image Award for best supporting actress in a drama series for Power Book II: Ghost.
The NAACP Image Awards followed the lead of the Primetime Emmys’ Creative Arts Awards in stripping their pre-telecast awards across an entire week.
Jazmine Sullivan was this year’s big winner in the music categories, which were announced on Feb. 24. Her album, Heaux Tales, won outstanding album. This is the fourth year in a row that an album by a female solo artist has won that award. Ella Mai’s Ella Mai, Beyoncé’s Homecoming: The Live Album and Jhené Aiko’s Chilombo won the previous three years.
Here is a link to Billboard’s night-by-night coverage of the pre-telecast awards.
Here are the winners in the categories presented on the telecast.
Entertainer of the year
WINNER: Jennifer Hudson
Lil Nas X
Megan Thee Stallion
Outstanding motion picture
Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros. Pictures)
King Richard (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Respect (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing)
WINNER: The Harder They Fall (Netflix)
The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu Original / New Slate Ventures / Lee Daniels Entertainment / Roth-Krischenbaum Films)
Outstanding actor in a motion picture
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth (Apple TV+ / A24)
Jonathan Majors – The Harder They Fall (Netflix)
LaKeith Stanfield – Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mahershala Ali – Swan Song (Apple TV+)
WINNER: Will Smith – King Richard (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Outstanding actress in a motion picture
Andra Day – The United States vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu Original / New Slate Ventures / Lee Daniels Entertainment / Roth-Krischenbaum Films)
Halle Berry – Bruised (Netflix)
WINNER: Jennifer Hudson – Respect (Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures/United Artists Releasing)
Tessa Thompson – Passing (Netflix)
Zendaya – Malcolm & Marie (Netflix)
Outstanding comedy series
Harlem (Amazon Studios)
WINNER: Insecure (HBO)
Run the World (Starz)
The Upshaws (Netflix)
Outstanding actor in a comedy series
WINNER: Anthony Anderson – black-ish (ABC)
Cedric the Entertainer – The Neighborhood (CBS)
Don Cheadle – Black Monday (Showtime)
Elisha ‘EJ’ Williams – The Wonder Years (ABC)
Jay Ellis – Insecure (HBO)
Outstanding actress in a comedy series
WINNER: Issa Rae – Insecure (HBO)
Loretta Devine – Family Reunion (Netflix)
Regina Hall – Black Monday (Showtime)
Tracee Ellis Ross – black-ish (ABC)
Yvonne Orji – Insecure (HBO)
Outstanding actor in a drama series
Billy Porter – Pose (FX Network)
Damson Idris – Snowfall (FX Network)
Forest Whitaker – Godfather of Harlem (EPIX)
Kofi Siriboe – Queen Sugar (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
WINNER: Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Outstanding actress in a drama series
WINNER: Angela Bassett – 9-1-1 (FOX)
Dawn-Lyen Gardner – Queen Sugar (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Octavia Spencer – Truth Be Told (Apple TV+)
Queen Latifah – The Equalizer (CBS)
Rutina Wesley – Queen Sugar (OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network)
Here’s a link to a complete list of nominees for the 53rd annual NAACP Image Awards.