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'Beloved,' 'Homicide' Top NAACP Image Award Nominations

December 11, 1998|GREG BRAXTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"Beloved," the epic drama about slavery and its tragic consequences that was a major disappointment at the box office and was largely rejected by black audiences, scored the most nominations of any film for the upcoming 30th Annual NAACP Image Awards, it was announced Thursday.

The Touchstone film, which was adapted from Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, earned nominations for its star Oprah Winfrey, who also was one of the film's producers, and acting nominations for co-stars Danny Glover, Beah Richards, Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton. "Beloved" was also nominated for best picture.

The awards, which honor the best in black entertainment in the fields of film, television, music and literature, will be held Feb. 13 and 14 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. A two-hour version of the ceremony will be broadcast on Fox, tentatively scheduled for March 4.

In the film categories, "Beloved" beat out 20th Century Fox's comedy-romance "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," which was a bigger hit with general audiences and with black filmgoers. "Stella" received four nominations, including outstanding motion picture, outstanding actress (Angela Bassett), outstanding supporting actress (Whoopi Goldberg) and outstanding youth actor/actress (Michael J. Pagan).

Other best picture nominees were "He Got Game," "Enemy of the State" and "Down in the Delta," the upcoming Miramax drama directed by Maya Angelou.

In the TV categories, "Homicide: Life on the Street" earned the most nominations of any prime-time series with six, followed by "Cosby" and "Moesha," which both scored four nominations. Two popular miniseries, "Mama Flora's Family" and "The Temptations," also received four nominations.

In the music categories, Lauryn Hill and Kirk Franklin were the top vote-getters with seven and six nods, respectively.

Kweisi Mfume, president and chief executive of the NAACP, said next year's event would have more of a milestone theme, since the civil rights organization would also be celebrating its 90th anniversary.

Mfume added that the plan for the group to establish an office in Hollywood in order to monitor and grade the entertainment industry is moving forward. He said the office would be set up in the spring.

"We intend to do in the entertainment industry what we did with the hotel and lodging and the telecommunications industry," said Mfume, who said the organization would look at employment opportunities and advancements, and also at images of people of color in film and television.

Mfume said he hoped to have some findings and conclusions by the time of the Image Awards in the year 2000.

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