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Award Season is upon us.  Between now and through February, Hollywood is in high gear pushing and promoting movies and movie stars. No matter how you slice it, it’s the “big boy” everyone aspires to. We’re talking the Oscar.

Indeed, awards programs such as The Golden Globes give Hollywood movers and shakers and the public an idea of who the Oscar contenders might be.

To be the best of the best often translates into bigger and better roles for mainstream actors and filmmakers. However, Black and other ethnic actors continue to struggle to get meaningful roles even after walking away with the “big boy.” Of course, there are exceptions such as Denzel Washington, who has enough star power to pick and choose his roles, and even create them. But for the most part Black and other ethnic actors and actresses almost melt into obscurity, or appear in independent films that receive very little to no publicity or promotion and often have to rely on the awards buzz to get national attention.

This brings us to the NAACP Image Awards, for the last 44 years the NAACP has bestowed honors on Black actors, actresses and filmmakers for their outstanding work in film and television. Interestingly enough, in recent years they’ve been honoring non-Black performers for their work in film and television programming. I don’t know of any other ethnic group that puts Black actors and actresses ahead of the performers from their own culture, and I don’t blame the other ethnic groups for this practice. We have to lift up our own and show love for who we are and what we’re all about–proclaim it to the world, then spread the love and inclusion around.

That brings me to the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), an organization that apparently wants to be seen as a mainstream critic’s organization that just happens to be made up of Black people. That’s all well and good, but folks we need to promote what we bring to the table, not try to fit in and get lost in the shuffle.

AAFCA awarded Ben Affleck its Best Director 2012 Award for “Argo.” Denzel Washington was named Best Actor 2012 for “Flight,” alongside Emayatzy Corinealdi who earned Best Actress 2012 for “Middle of Nowhere.” Sally Field received Best Supporting Actress 2012 for her role in “Lincoln” and Nate Parker earned Best Supporting Actor 2012 for his performance in “Arbitrage.”

Ava DuVernay’s “Middle of Nowhere” was voted Best Screenplay, with the film also honored as Best Independent Film. France’s entry “The Intouchables” was named Best Foreign Film with newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis awarded Best Breakout Performance for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” And director Peter Ramsey received the Best Animated Feature Award.

Here is a partial list of the NAACP Image Awards Nominees in film:

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
* Denzel Washington–“Flight”
* Jamie Foxx–“Django Unchained”
* Morgan Freeman–“The Magic of Belle Isle”
* Suraj Sharma–“Life of Pi”
* Tyler Perry–“Alex Cross”

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
* Emayatzy Corinealdi–“Middle of Nowhere”
* Halle Berry–“Cloud Atlas”
* Loretta Devine–“In the Hive”
* Quvenzhané Wallis–“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
* Viola Davis–“Won’t Back Down”

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
* David Oyelowo–“Middle of Nowhere”
* Don Cheadle–“Flight”
* Dwight Henry–“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
* Lenny Kravitz–“The Hunger Games”
* Samuel L. Jackson–“Django Unchained”

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
* Amandla Stenberg–“The Hunger Games”
* Gloria Reuben–“Lincoln”
* Kerry Washington–“Django Unchained”
* Phylicia Rashad–“Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds”
* Taraji P. Henson–“Think Like a Man”

For a complete list of NAACP nominations and AFFCA winners, visit these websites: and, and make sure you check out the films if they are still in theaters.

Gail can be reached at