March 3, 2007 in Nation/World

Whitaker, Hudson, Obama win NAACP Image Awards

Peter Prengaman Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Forest Whitaker accepts the award for outstanding actor in a motion picture for “The Last King of Scotland,” at the NAACP Image Awards on Friday.
(Full-size photo)

LOS ANGELES – Oscar winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson kept their winning streaks alive Friday, while “Grey’s Anatomy” star Isaiah Washington claimed a best actor prize at the 38th annual NAACP Image Awards. “Ugly Betty” took top television honors.

Hudson, a former “American Idol” finalist, garnered a best supporting actress award for her role in the musical “Dreamgirls,” the same category she won at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

“There is nothing like being recognized and honored by your own,” said Hudson.

Whitaker, who won a best actor Oscar for “The Last King of Scotland,” earned the same prize at Friday’s ceremony, which honor projects and individuals who promote diversity in the arts.

“Doing this role gave me so many blessings,” said Whitaker, who plays a Ugandan dictator in the film. “One was being able to go back to Africa and touch my roots.”

Washington, who has been sharply criticized for uttering a gay slur on the set of his hit show, scored best actor for a drama series.

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized by the NAACP,” said Washington, who announced earlier this year he would seek help after receiving a torrent of negative publicity for his comments.

“The first time I was up here I felt deserving of something,” he added. “This time I feel privileged.”

“The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith and his son, won best picture honors. Keke Palmer nabbed best actress for “Akeelah and the Bee,” and Djimon Hounsou took best supporting actor for “Blood Diamond.”

“This film means a lot to me for the simple reason that I’m from Africa,” said Hounsou to loud applause.

Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama won a literary nonfiction Image Award for his book “The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.” Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, did not attend the ceremony.

Vanessa Williams got the nod for best supporting actress in a comedy for “Ugly Betty,” which also won for best television comedy series.

© Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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