is an intern at The Root and senior journalism major at Howard University.
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture: Idris Elba
Yes, Idris Elba is one delicious tall draaank, and that alone is enough to redeem Obsessed, the Negro Fatal Attraction one reviewer hailed as proof that we have achieved equal right to have trashy, lowbrow movies aimed at us. Fair enough. But what about the epic beatdown Beyoncé, playing the bourgie wife, delivers to the blonde temp trying to snatch her man? No, it ain't right, but if the NAACP really wanted score points with the crowd protesting Essence for putting Reggie Bush on the cover, Beyoncé should be the one nominated for this movie. Just saying.
Outstanding Literary Work—Non-Fiction: Al Gore
Al Gore has gotten plenty of well-deserved recognition for his work on climate change, and all the anti-intellectual wackos claiming otherwise because of this snowy winter need to fall back. (See: the scientific method and peer review.) Still, the NAACP Image Awards exist to burnish the image of colored people. Plus, some people in Oslo already dapped up Al Gore. Something tells me he'll be OK if the NAACP passes him over this time.
Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture: Sandra Bullock —The Blind Side
When the New York Times called The Blind Side a "red state Precious," I think it was supposed to be a compliment. But that doesn't mean there aren't redeeming qualities in the story of Michael Oher, a poor black Tennessee football player raised by a wealthy white football-obsessed family. Sandra Bullock plays Leigh Ann Tuohy, his white adoptive mother, who rescues him from poverty, despair and even a low IQ. This is, after all, based on a true, complex and ultimately uplifting story. But who, if not the NAACP, will stop encouraging Hollywood's white messiah complex?
Outstanding Comedy Series: 30 Rock
In one classic 30 Rock moment, Tina Fey, playing a head writer for the Saturday Night Live-like show, is exasperated when she is outwitted once again by Tracy Morgan, who plays a black comedian: "You took advantage of my white liberal guilt! White liberal guilt is only to be used for good, like over-tipping or supporting Barack Obama!" Good move giving the nod to the always-hilarious Tracy Morgan, the classic trickster character who plays the fool-but is clearly smarter than everyone else. I just caution the NAACP to remember Dave Chappelle's warning about the fine line between shuffling and dancing. We know Tracy's dancing, but does the rest of America?
Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series: Sherri Shepherd, Sherri (Lifetime)
Normally I would not fault an actress for the things she says and does off the set. Don't know what B.C. means or if the world is flat? That's unfortunate. Born-again Christian? That's your business. But you do have to wonder about someone who makes Elisabeth Hasselbeck look like Marilyn vos Savant by comparison. And this series is based on the Chicago-born comedian's real life before she made it big on 30 Rock and The View. So the mundane, sassy, you-go-girl feel of this series is not what I would consider forward movement for the image of black women. Try again.
Outstanding Song and Music Video: "Blame It" by Jamie Foxx feat. T-Pain
Really, NAACP? So we are honoring a date-rape anthem? What's next? Tavis Smiley getting an award for publishing R. Kelly's book?
Outstanding Literary Work—Instructional: Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
Call me a literary snob, but something about this category strikes me as an oxymoron in itself. In any case, the NAACP should be giving the nod not to celebrities who hire outstanding ghostwriters, but to the full-time writers out here hustling for diminishing returns. I'd say all the units Steve Harvey is moving on this relationship book is enough of an award.
Outstanding Reality Series: The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo)
I'll let Helena Andrews take this one: "When it comes to new-millennium typecasting, Bravo's The Real Housewives of Atlanta is downright antebellum," she wrote on The Root last year. Describing one episode, which grabbed 2.7 million viewers last year, Andrews continued: "The punch line was simple: Sheree's a "f***ing liar," Kim's "a f***ing liar" and "trailer trash," and NeNe "cannot run in heels." No, NAACP. Or to quote another 2010 nominee, Whitney Houston, "Hell to the naw!"
Natalie Hopkinson is The Root’s media and culture critic. Follow her on Twitter