"Precious" sweeps Image Awards, Wyclef Jean honored
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Independent movie "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire" swept the Image Awards on Friday, picking up six trophies including best movie and best actress for its star, newcomer Gabourey Sidibe.
The harrowing tale of an abused, obese Harlem teen also brought an NAACP Image award for actress Mo'Nique, whose performance as a manipulative mother is the leading favorite for a best supporting actress Oscar in March.
"Precious" also won the Image award for best independent movie, and Lee Daniels picked up the best director prize for the film on a night of honors given out by the oldest U.S. civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
An emotional Sidibe dedicated her award to "all the Precious girls everywhere. This is for you," she said.
Daniels, also fighting back tears, recalled how big Hollywood studios had told him repeatedly that "no one wanted to see a movie about a 350-pound black girl, who is struggling and who has HIV."
Morgan Freeman won best actor for playing former South African president Nelson Mandela in the movie "Invictus", and R&B star Mary J. Blige won two music awards, for best female artist and best album for "Stronger With Each Tear."
Hip-hop singer Wyclef Jean won the NAACP's prestigious Vanguard trophy for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of his native Haiti.
Jean, a founder member of The Fugees, was a leading celebrity campaigner for Haiti disaster relief after January's devastating earthquake in the poverty-stricken nation. Continued...