"The Help" leads NAACP Image Award nominees

Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:07pm EST

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(Reuters) - The civil-rights era drama "The Help" led the nominees for the NAACP Image Awards on Thursday, with eight nods, including best movie and for five actresses from its cast.

The summer box office hit about black maids in the U.S. South in the early 1960s has already won several honors in the early awards season and is considered a strong contender for the Oscars when nominations are announced next week.

Emma Stone and Viola Davis were both nominated as best actress, while Bryce Dallas Howard, Cicely Tyson and Octavia Spencer, who won the Golden Globe on Sunday, were all supporting actress contenders.

The film's director and writer, Tate Taylor, was nominated in both those categories.

Other best movie nominees for the 43rd annual awards included "Jumping the Broom," "Pariah," "The First Grader" and "Tower Heist," which brought a nomination for Eddie Murphy, who faces Laurence Fishburne and Vin Diesel in the actor category.

The NAACP Image Awards celebrate the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honor individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

On the television side, led by ABC with 18 nominations, nominees for comedy series included "Modern Family," "Reed Between the Lines," "Love That Girl!," "The Game" and "Tyler Perry's House of Payne."

The outstanding drama nominees were "Boardwalk Empire," "Grey's Anatomy," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," "The Good Wife" and "Treme."

Among actors nominated for a drama series were L.L. Cool J for "NCIS: Los Angeles" and Taye Diggs for "Private Practice."

TLC's controversial series "All-American Muslim" was nominated for reality TV series, along with "Dancing With the Stars" and "American Idol."

Beyonce scored four nominations in the music categories, including outstanding female artist, song, album and music video, while Mary J. Blige received three nods.

Actor Harry Belafonte was nominated for his autobiography, "My Song" along with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for "No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington."

Winners of the NAACP Awards will be announced during a two-hour ceremony on February 17.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud; Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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