The NAACP Image Awards have been around for over 50 years, honoring those who’ve given unforgettable performances in film, television, theatre, music, and literature.
This year the organization is set to acknowledge Black male talent who gave a remarkable performance in a motion picture. Veteran star Denzel Washington currently holds the title for the most awards won in the category. As we gear up for a night celebrating the brightest and most talented star in Black Hollywood, take a look at who’s in the running for “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.”
Jonathan Majors / The Harder They Fall
Major gives a fearless performance as Nat Love in the fictional Black Western The Harder They Fall. Majors had previously starred in the HBO series Lovecraft Country, the show was a massive hit although it was cancled after only one season.
Lakeith Stanfield / Judas and the Black Messiah
Lakeith Stanfield hasn’t taken on a bad role yet. However, he plays several unlikeable people in his films, including Bill O’Neal, in the drama/history film directed by Shaka King, whom the FBI sends to infiltrate the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather information on its leader Fred Hampton, subsequently aiding in his ultimate assignation. It’s clear Stanfield wants a long career in Hollywood and an obvious choice for “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.”
Denzel Washington / The Tragedy of Macbeth
The veteran currently holds the title for the most wins in this category. Washington’s latest theatrical performance in the film based on the Shakespearan play, appears to be making a solid case for the actor to maintained that honor.
Mahershala Ali / Swan Song
Mahershala Ali’s performance in Benjamin Cleary’s drama-sci-fi Swan Song playing himself twice is a feat few stars have taken on and executed correctly. Ali won his first Oscar as “Best Supporting Actor” playing a drug dealer who becomes a father figure to a young man in Moonlight. It’ll be great to see if he snatch a trophy at the Image Awards for his leading role in Swan Song.
Will Smith / King Richard
The trailer to the film about the man behind two of the greatest tennis players of all time was enough to spark talks of an Oscar win for Will Smith. Smith’s powerful and emotional performance earned him his first ever Golden Globe.
Watch the NAACP Image Awards on Saturday, February 26, 2022 at 8/9c.