The Help sweeps Image Awards

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‘The Help’ continued its awards season run by taking three prizes at the NAACP Image Awards, including the best picture award, best actress for Viola Davis and supporting actress for Octavia Spencer. Davis and Spencer have collected armloads of accolades for their work in the film about black maids who speak out against their white employers during the civil rights movement. Both are up for Academy Awards next week. Davis said the film has “just been the joy of my life. I found my voice,” she said. “I just emerged through ‘The Help’.” The ceremony Friday at the Shrine Auditorium, which honoured diversity in the arts, was punctuated by moving tributes to Whitney Houston, the Black Stuntmen’s Association and George Lucas. Yolanda Adams sang the spiritual song ‘I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry’ as part of a moving tribute to Houston, who died last week at the age of 48. “We love you, Nip,” she said as she finished the song, referring to Houston’s nickname. Footage of Houston accepting the award for outstanding female artist in 1994 was shown, as was Denzel Washington’s presentation of that award, in which he called the singer an “artist of unparalleled stature.” In television, Tyler Perry’s ‘House of Payne’ won best comedy series and ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’ took home the best drama series prize. Regina King won best TV actress for the police drama ‘Southland’, and rapper LL Cool J won best TV actor for his role in ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’. Grammy and Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson took home the album of the year for ‘I Remember Me’, Cee Lo Green was voted best male artist and jazz singer Jill Scott best female artist. ‘Star Wars’ creator George Lucas, whose latest movie chronicles the story of African-American Tuskegee airmen in World War Two, received a special award. The NAACP Image Awards celebrate the accomplishments of people of colour in the fields of film, television, music and literature, and also honour individuals or groups who promote social justice.