Kerry Washington was a triple threat at the NAACP Image Awards.
The star of ABC’s Scandal picked up a trio of trophies at the 44th annual ceremony: outstanding actress in a drama series for Scandal, supporting actress in a motion picture for Django Unchained and the President’s Award, which is given in recognition of special achievement and exceptional public service.
“This award does not belong to me,” said Washington, who plays a slave separated from her husband in Django Unchained, as she picked up her first trophy of the evening for her role in the film directed by Quentin Tarantino. “It belongs to our ancestors. We shot this film on a slave plantation, and they were with us along every step of the way.”
Washington, who plays crisis management consultant Olivia Pope on Scandal, serves on President Barack Obama’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.
Don Cheadle was awarded the outstanding actor in a comedy series trophy for his role as a slick management consultant in Showtime’s “House of Lies.”
“This doesn’t belong just to me, but I am taking it home tonight,” joked Cheadle.
A few winners weren’t present at the Shrine Auditorium to pick up their trophies, including Denzel Washington for outstanding actor in a motion picture for Flight, Viola Davis for outstanding actress in a motion picture for Won’t Back Down and Omar Epps for supporting actor in a drama series for Fox’s House.
Red Tails, the drama about the Tuskegee Airmen, was honored as outstanding motion picture.
“Look! I beat Quentin Tarantino,” beamed Red Tails executive producer George Lucas as he accepted the award.
LL Cool J, who was honored as outstanding actor in a drama series for CBS’ NCIS: Los Angeles, dedicated his trophy to fellow nominee Michael Clarke Duncan, “The Green Mile” and “The Finder” actor who died last year.
“I wish his family well,” said LL. “Let’s give it up for him.”
Gladys Knight sang during the in memoriam segment, but the beginning of her performance wasn’t heard on the live NBC broadcast because of a technical glitch.
Sidney Poitier presented Harry Belafonte with the Spingarn Award, which honors outstanding achievement by an African American. His honor was followed by a serenade from Wyclef Jean and Common.
Other winners at the ceremony hosted by talk show host Steve Harvey included Loretta Devine as supporting actress in a drama series for “Grey’s Anatomy,” Cassi Davis as outstanding actress in a comedy series and Lance Gross as outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series for TBS’ Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.
The Image Awards are presented annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the group’s members select the winners.