'Wakanda Forever' scores 12 NAACP Image Award nominations

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FILE - This image released by Marvel Studios shows, from left, Dorothy Steel as Merchant Tribe Elder, Florence Kasumba as Ayo, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, and Danai Gurira as Okoye in a scene from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever." Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned 12 NAACP Image Awards nominations on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, while The Woman King and Abbott Elementary will enter next months ceremony as top nominees. (Marvel Studios via AP, File)

LOS ANGELES – “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” earned 12 NAACP Image Awards nominations on Thursday, while “The Woman King” and “Abbott Elementary” will enter next month’s ceremony as other top nominees.

The “Black Panther” sequel — which found blockbuster success — led all film nominees. The Marvel film delved into the concept of Wakanda’s grief in the wake of the death of T’Challa — a character played by Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020.

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The film “The Woman King” starring Viola Davis and the ABC television series “Abbott Elementary” with Quinta Brunson each received nine nods. Both Davis and Brunson are nominated for entertainer of the year along with Mary J. Blige, Zendaya and Angela Bassett.

The awards honoring entertainers and writers of color will air live in Pasadena, California, on BET on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. EST. The two-hour show will be held in front of an audience for the first time in three years.

“This year’s nominees have conveyed a wide range of authentic stories and diverse experiences that have resonated with many in our community,” said Derrick Johnson, the president and CEO of the NAACP. “We’re proud to recognize their outstanding achievements and performances.”

“Wakanda Forever” and “The Woman King” will compete for outstanding motion picture along with “A Jazzman's Blues," “Till” and “Emancipation.”

ABC emerged with a leading 28 nominations with the help of “Abbott Elementary,” “black-ish” and “The Wonder Years.”

Netflix, the streaming giant, received 15 nominations. RCA Records/RCA Inspiration has 11 nods, while Penguin Random House and HarperCollins Publisher led with nine in the literary categories.

In music, Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar both came away with five nominations.

“We take pride in recognizing the trailblazing achievements and artistry of this year’s esteemed nominees and celebrating the powerful legacy of the NAACP,” said Connie Orlando, the EVP of specials, music programming & music strategy at BET. “We look forward to bringing the Image Awards back to Pasadena in front of a live audience and delivering unforgettable moments that epitomize the brilliance of the Black community.”

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