Predicting the 2023 NAACP Image Awards – Film Awards

Logo Credit: NAACP Image Awards

Ok – time to get to the film categories. These are always a lot less fun because there just aren’t that many films being made anymore and most black films are either boring biopics or historical epics. But let’s go on ‘head and get into it

Outstanding Motion Picture

  1. A Jazzman’s Blues
  2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  3. Emancipation
  4. The Woman King
  5. TILL

Should Win: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Will Win:
Should Have Been Nominated: The Inspection / Breaking

These are basically the only major black films released last year so these nominations are not really choices so much as the only available options. Industry and cultural respect for Tyler Perry as a businessman has officially morphed into respect as an artist, which is inane. As such, A Jazzman’s Blues stole the nomination that The Inspection or Breaking should have had. It was as unwatchable as everything else he’s made that isn’t the first Why Did I Get Married or The Family That Preys. Emancipation is dead in the water for reasons we all know and it was a bit of a bore. So this comes down to Wakanda Forever, TILL, and The Woman King. I’d be happy with any of these three winning, but Wakanda Forever is a better movie across the board than the other two, which feature weaker scripts. I think TILL wins because of its incredible performances and subject matter though.

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture

  1. Daniel Kaluuya – Nope
  2. Jonathan Majors – Devotion
  3. Joshua Boone – A Jazzman’s Blues
  4. Sterling K. Brown – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul
  5. Will Smith – Emancipation

Should Win: Jonathan Majors
Will Win: Jonathan Majors

Should Have Been Nominated: Jeremy Pope / John Boyega

This category is Jonathan Majors’ to lose, but I don’t think he will. He’s officially a movie star with character actor chops and presence. He’s in the middle of a double press tour for the third Ant-Man film and his all-but-certain-to-be-classic performance in Creed 3. Everyone loves him and he’s genuinely great in Devotion. This might have been a better category and more interesting if Jeremy Pope and John Boyega were here for The Inspection and Breaking, respectively. They are both better performances than all of these here.

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture

  1. Danielle Deadwyler – TILL
  2. Keke Palmer – Alice
  3. Letitia Wright – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  4. Regina Hall – Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul
  5. Viola Davis – The Woman King

Should Win: Regina Hall
Will Win: Viola Davis

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

These are all really terrific performances, but for me the real pleasure here was watching the incredible Regina Hall’s multilayered performance in Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. She’s incredible as a woman who is doing her damnedest to keep up appearances and rebuild her life, even as she knows at the core of her being that it’s past saving. It’s the best film performance of last year in a film no one saw and that isn’t really as great as her performance. So she will not win. I think this is a toss-up between Danielle and Viola, who I think have an equal chance of winning. I don’t think it’s wise to bet against Viola, so I think she wins.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture

  • Aldis Hodge – Black Adam
  • Cliff “Method Man” Smith – On The Come Up
  • Jalyn Hall – TILL
  • John Boyega – The Woman King
  • Tenoch Huerta – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Should Win: Tenoch Huerta
Will Win: Method Man

Should Have Been Nominated: Brian Tyree Henry

These are interesting nominees. I actually think all of these guys have an equal chance of winning, but I get the slight advantage to Method Man because he’s beloved. I’m annoyed that Brian Tyree Henry isn’t here, but it seems like the acting nominations are reserved only for performers in studio films. Dumb. That said, I personally think this should go to Tenoch for his incredible work in Wakanda Forever, but young Jalyn Hall is also a fine choice as Emmett Till.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture

  1. Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  2. Danai Gurira – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  3. Janelle Monáe – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  4. Lashana Lynch – The Woman King
  5. Lupita Nyong’o – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Should Win: Angela Bassett
Will Win: Angela Bassett

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

Come on – y’all know Queen Angela Bassett got this locked up the moment Queen Ramonda read the United Nations for filth in the first 30 minutes of Wakanda Forever. This is going to be a win for a truly incredible performance AND a legendary career for which she should have won an armful of awards already. It is the best performance of these nominees and she deserves to win.

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture

  1. Breaking
  2. Causeway
  3. Mr. Malcolm’s List
  4. Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story
  5. The Inspection

Should Win: Breaking
Will Win: Remember Me

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

These are really good nominees and I’d be happy with any of them winning. But I think Breaking is the strongest film of the five and so it’s the one I’d award. I think though that this is going to go to Remember Me. It’s a traditional biopic and it’s about the legend Mahalia Jackson.

Outstanding Breakthrough Performance in a Motion Picture

  1. Jalyn Hall – TILL
  2. Joshua Boone – A Jazzman’s Blues
  3. Ledisi – Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story
  4. Y’lan Noel – A Lot of Nothing
  5. Yola – Elvis

Should Win: Jalyn Hall
Will Win: Ledisi

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

This category comes down to young Jalyn Hall and Ledisi. The former deserves it, but I think Ledisi will win it. She’s a singer who is becoming an actress, catnip for awards, and she’s pretty good in the film.

Outstanding Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture

  1. A Jazzman’s Blues
  2. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  3. Emancipation
  4. The Woman King
  5. TILL

Should Win: The Woman King
Will Win: The Woman King

Should Have Been Nominated: Breaking / The Inspection

Breaking and The Inspection should be here taking the place of Tyler’s film and Emancipation, but alas. The Wakanda Forever ensemble features some of the best actors currently working and they are all incredible, but I think The Woman King ensemble edges them out by a hair this year. I think they’ll win too because the Black Panther ensemble has already won and the film – while incredible – just didn’t generate the kind of energy and buzz that the original film did (it was never going to, but…yeah here we are).

Outstanding Animated Motion Picture

  1. DC League of Super-Pets
  2. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
  3. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  4. Turning Red
  5. Wendell & Wild

Should Win: Pinocchio
Will Win: Wendell & Wild

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

These are good nominees, but we all know the animation in Wendell & Wild and Pinocchio is superior to the other nominees. I think the NAACP is going to award Key and Peele here, but del Toro’s Pinocchio is the real revelation as a complete film experience. It’s so rich and layered and so clearly a del Toro film.

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance – Motion Picture

  1. Angela Bassett – Wendell & Wild
  2. Keke Palmer – Lightyear
  3. Kevin Hart – DC League of Super-Pets
  4. Lyric Ross – Wendell & Wild
  5. Taraji P. Henson – Minions: The Rise of Gru

Should Win: Lyric Ross
Will Win: Angela Bassett

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

This is a great group of nominees, but I think Lyric Ross is the real standout here. She’s the grounding force in the weird world that Key and Peele created here and you need that. But I don’t know that the NAACP can resist headlines that say Queen Angela won two (or three) Image Awards this year.

Outstanding Breakthrough Creative (Motion Picture)

  1. Elvis Mitchell – Is That Black Enough For You?!?
  2. Ericka Nicole Malone – Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story
  3. Krystin Ver Linden – Alice
  4. Mo McRae – A Lot of Nothing
  5. Stephen Adetumbi, Jarrett Roseborough – This Is My Black (Campus of Pine Forge Academy)

Should Win: Krystin Ver Linden
Will Win: Ericka Nicole Malone

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

I think Malone wins here for Remember Me. It’s a fine, if somewhat staid, film. But again – it’s about a Black icon and it’s competently made enough to make us all want to see what else Malone can do. But, for my money, the real interesting voice here is Linden.

Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture

  1. Antoine Fuqua – Emancipation
  2. Ryan Coogler – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  3. Gina Prince-Bythewood – The Woman King
  4. Kasi Lemmons – I Wanna Dance With Somebody
  5. Chinonye Chukwu – TILL

Should Win: Ryan Coogler
Will Win” Gina Prince-Bythewood

Should Have Been Nominated: Jordan Peele

These are really terrific nominees, though Jordan Peele should be on this list (I’d swap him in for Fuqua, a director whom I love who misfired a bit here). But it’s important to understand that Ryan Coogler and Gina Prince-Bythewood are in a class by themselves and they are the only two here with a chance of winning. Personally – I think Ryan made the better film and it’s expertly directed, but I think Gina is going to win this one.

Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture

  1. Charles Murray – The Devil You Know
  2. Dana Stevens and Maria Bello – The Woman King
  3. Jordan Peele – Nope
  4. Krystin Ver Linden – Alice
  5. Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Should Win: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Will Win:
Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole
Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

I really think this one goes to Ryan and Joe. The script is a loving testament to the great Chadwick Boseman and just flat-out works as a great story in and of itself. These guys have made the best post-Endgame MCU movie and, first and foremost, it’s because of the script. The other nominees are good (though Peele’s script is the weakest element of his film), but they just did not operate at the same level.

Entertainer of the Year

  1. Angela Bassett
  2. Mary J. Blige Should: Quinta Brunson
  3. Quinta Brunson Will: Qu inta Brunson
  4. Viola Davis SHBN: none
  5. Zendaya

Should Win: Quinta Brunson
Will Win: Angela Bassett

Should Have Been Nominated: n/a

I am not sure this category makes any sense. Sometimes it’s dead-on, as when D-Nice won in 2021 for revolutionizing Instagram as the primary mode of mass pandemic-time entertainment. But strangely, Beyonce won in 2019, not in 2017 after the supernova that was Lemonade. And somehow Jennifer Hudson won last year over Lil Nas X, who is arguably the most important Black artist of his generation and dominated nearly all conversation with his debut album. So I don’t know what is really communicated with this award. Quinta is the only person here who dominated conversation and culture enough to be here. The other ladies are stars, but they’ve always been stars and this past year wasn’t really any different for them. Quinta should win, but I think Angela will win (but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s Viola).

Other 2023 Image Awards Predictions:

About tlewisisdope

I write. I live in DC.
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One Response to Predicting the 2023 NAACP Image Awards – Film Awards

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