- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 10, 2008

‘Great’ grabs 8 Image bids

“The Great Debaters,” a film based on the real-life victories of a black debating team in the 1930s, tops the list of nominees announced Tuesday for the 39th NAACP Image Awards, Associated Press reports.

“Girlfriends” and “Everybody Hates Chris” lead the television nominees.

“The Great Debaters” collected eight nominations, including outstanding motion picture and both outstanding actor and outstanding director for Denzel Washington. The movie also garnered three supporting-actor nominations for Forest Whitaker, Nate Parker and Denzel Whitaker.

Other best-picture nominees: “American Gangster,” “I Am Legend,” “Talk to Me” and “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?”

Other outstanding-actor nominees were Columbus Short for “Stomp the Yard,” Don Cheadle for “Talk to Me,” Terrence Howard for “Pride” and Will Smith for “I Am Legend.”

Nominated for outstanding actress: Jurnee Smollett for “The Great Debaters,” Angelina Jolie for “A Mighty Heart,” Halle Berry for “Things We Lost in the Fire,” Jill Scott for “Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?” and District native Taraji P. Henson for “Talk to Me.”

The Image Awards honor those who promote diversity in the arts. Awards in 44 categories, including literature, will be presented Feb. 14 in a Los Angeles ceremony broadcast live on Fox.

DGA taps Coens, Penn

In other awards-season news, filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and Oscar winner Sean Penn are among the nominees for the top prize at this year’s Directors Guild of America Awards, Agence France-Presse reports.

The Coen brothers were nominated in the category for outstanding directing of a feature film for their acclaimed crime thriller “No Country for Old Men,” while Mr. Penn received a nod for his drama “Into the Wild.” Other nominees for this year’s top honor include Paul Thomas Anderson for “There Will Be Blood,” Tony Gilroy for “Michael Clayton” and Julian Schnabel for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

The DGA awards, which will be awarded in Los Angeles on Jan. 26, are regarded as key indicators of likely contenders at the Academy Awards, which take place roughly one month later this year, on Feb. 24. In the 60 years of the DGA awards, just six winners of the top prize have failed to go on to win the best-director prize at the Oscars.

Vacation bust

Speaking of Mr. Penn, the actor-director was served with divorce papers by his wife, Robin Wright Penn, after the actress reportedly found him in bed with two other women, the Internet Movie Database reports, citing a story in Star magazine. The actors reportedly were staying at the Squaw Valley resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., days before Christmas when the incident is said to have occurred, MSNBC.com says, citing published reports.

Mr. Penn married Miss Wright in 1996, and they have two children together. It is the second divorce for Mr. Penn. He ended his marriage to pop star Madonna in 1989 after four years.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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