Steve McQueen, the director of 12 Years a Slave
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Editor's note: In a separate ceremony Friday night, The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross won its category as outstanding news and information series.

In 1967 the NAACP took its mission of fighting for justice and equality to Hollywood by establishing the NAACP Image Awards to honor those people of color whose work in film, music, television and literature was largely ignored.  

On Saturday the civil rights organization will celebrate the awards’ 45th ceremony, complete with a preshow red carpet and the entertainment industry’s hottest stars of the year, ranging from longtime favorites like Idris Elba to newbies like Lupita Nyong’o who have stolen the public’s heart.

It’s a night of glamour when favorite stars of color—along with those people who promote social justice through their art—are celebrated for their works and accomplishments in the entertainment industry.


Veteran actor Anthony Anderson will host the awards, and Stevie Wonder, who is already enshrined in the NAACP Hall of Fame, is scheduled to perform. Oprah Winfrey is expected to pay tribute to the late former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Nominees will be competing for the prize in more than 50 subcategories within the major categories of motion pictures, television, recording, literature, documentaries, writing and directing. 


Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which, surprisingly, was not acknowledged by the Golden Globes or the Oscars, will be heavily represented at the Image Awards, with nominations for outstanding motion picture, actor (Forest Whitaker), supporting actor (Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo and Terrence Howard have all been nominated), supporting actress (Oprah Winfrey), writer (Danny Strong) and director.

Of course, season favorite 12 Years a Slave has also been nominated for various awards, going up against Lee Daniels’ The Butler for outstanding motion picture, actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), supporting actress (Nyong’o and Alfre Woodard), writer (John Ridley) and director (Steve McQueen).


Also nominated in two categories is The African-Americans: Many Rivers to Cross. It is the acclaimed PBS series executive-produced by The Root’s editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates Jr. It is nominated for outstanding news and information series and outstanding nonfiction writing.

Other big-name nominees include Cedric the Entertainer (outstanding actor in a comedy series for The Soul Man), Kevin Hart (actor in a comedy for Real Husbands of Hollywood), Boris Kodjoe (supporting actor in a comedy for Real Husbands of Hollywood), John Legend (male artist) and, of course, Beyoncé (female artist).


Presenters at this year’s ceremony include Elba, Nyong’o, Vin Diesel, Terry Crews, Nia Long, Naomie Harris, Morris Chestnut, Chadwick Boseman, Tyrese Gibson, Ed Asner, Ben Vereen, Tyler Perry, Octavia Spencer and Michael Ealy.

The 45th NAACP Image Awards red carpet begins Saturday, Feb. 22, at 8 p.m. EST, one hour before the actual ceremony at 9. Read the full list of nominees here.