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The African Nominees Who Scored 2022 NAACP Image Award Nods

Come February 26th, the winners of this year’s NAACP Image Awards will be announced in a two-hour live TV special, hosted by Anthony Anderson. And a number of African filmmakers could be among them.

Streaming giant Netflix has garnered the most nominees for this year’s NAACP Image Awards, which will mark the 53rd edition, leading across both the motion picture and television categories. The Harder They Fall leads the film side of the awards, with 12 nods, while the biopic about Aretha Franklin, Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson as the late icon, has scored six. The film, helmed by South African director, Liesl Tommy, as her feature debut, also scored a nomination for outstanding ensemble cast in a motion picture. Tommy herself earned a nomination for outstanding breakthrough creative category, alongside the likes of Amir “Questlove” Thompson, for Summer of Soul, and Jeymes Samuel, director of The Harder They Fall.


In the outstanding international motion picture category, three African films that are all feature debuts make up the five nominees. The Gravedigger’s Wife, from Finnish-Somali director and writer Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, joins Eyimofe (This Is My Desire), from Nigerian twin brothers, Arie and Chuko Esiri, and African America, from South African Muzi Mthembu, which also has a Black Reel nomination under its belt. The Gravedigger’s Wife is inspired by a death in Ahmed’s own family, while the Esiri brothers set Eyimofe in the town where they grew up, Lagos. African America is based on the experiences of Mthembu’s sister, Phumi, who moved to the US for a time, as the film’s lead character does too.

Phumi Morare holds the flag for South Africa with her outstanding short form (live action) nomination for When The Sun Sets (Lakutshon’ Ilanga), which won gold at last year’s Student Oscars and is on the short list for this year’s Oscars.

On the acting front, Ugandan-born British actress Sheila Atim scored a nomination in the outstanding breakthrough performance in a motion picture category, for her role in Halle Berry‘s directorial debut, Bruised, and another for her part as Cora’s (played by Thuso Mbedu) mother. Insecure‘s Yvonne Orji continues to make Naija proud with her fourth NCAAP Image Award nod.

Nominees for the annual award show were announced during a special virtual event hosted by musician Kyla Pratt, Black-ish’s Marcus Scribner and singer-songwriter Tinashe on the NAACP’s Instagram account.

“We are thrilled to recognize this year’s nominees, who have all brought dynamic, entertaining, and thought provoking content to our attention through their incredible work in film, television, music and more,” said Karen Boykin-Towns, Image Awards Committee chairman.

Voting is now open to the public at NAACPImageAwards.net, where a full list of nominees can be found.


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