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    December 3, 2014

Lee Daniels on 'Butler's' NAACP Nominations: It 'Touches My Very Soul'

8:00 AM PST 01/11/2014 by THR staff
Dan Monick
Lee Daniels

The director reflects on his film's personal meaning, telling THR, "My mother, aunts and uncles all lived through this tumultuous era, and even today some of their scares remain."

Lee Daniels is celebrating the seven NAACP Image Awards nominations The Butler received Thursday.

"The importance of being nominated by the NAACP on this particular film touches my very soul. I did the best I could to teach but not preach," Daniels said in an exclusive statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "My mother, aunts and uncles all lived through this tumultuous era, and even today some of their scares remain. So many current films lack any type of social [conscience] and responsibility. When Harvey Weinstein stepped up to the table, I felt we were in good hands."

Read Daniels' full statement at the bottom of this post.

EARLIER: NAACP Image Awards Nominations Announced

Lee Daniels' The Butler nabbed nominations for outstanding motion picture as well as writing and directing noms for Daniels. The Weinstein Co. film also received nominations for outstanding actor (Forest Whitaker), outstanding supporting actress (Oprah Winfrey) and supporting actor nominations for Cuba Gooding Jr., David Oyelowo and Terrence Howard.

Two other Weinstein Co. films received NAACP nominations, with Fruitvale Station nabbing four and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom taking three. The production company lead with a total of 15 film nominations.

Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, whose film is also in contention for outstanding motion picture, said in a statement: "It is such an honor for our film to be recognized by an organization that has been so prolific in encouraging the social evolution of our country. It is also a great honor to be acknowledged in company with these amazing films."

EXCLUSIVE: Lee Daniels in Talks to Direct Richard Pryor Biopic

The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film and honors those who promote social justice through creative endeavors. The awards will kick off Saturday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. on TV One, with a red carpet show at 8 p.m. Winners of the nontelevised categories will be announced Friday, Feb. 21.

Read Daniels' full statement below.

After I completed filming of Lee Daniels' The Butler, the words of Edmund Burke came to mind … "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."

That is the power, strength and beauty of this film. It vividly re-creates the shameful and painful past while also expressing the fervent optimism born out of it.

Q&A: 'The Butler' Director Lee Daniels: 'Thank God I Didn't Kill Myself'

The importance of being nominated by the NAACP on this particular film touches my very soul. I did the best I could to teach but not preach. My mother, aunts and uncles all lived through this tumultuous era, and even today some of their scares remain. So many current films lack any type of social [conscience] and responsibility. When Harvey Weinstein stepped up to the table, I felt we were in good hands. Look at The Weinstein's roster just for this year alone …The Butler, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom and Fruitvale Station.  

When films like these come along they are to be heralded. Not only for the brave chances taken, but in the way they combine both artistic ability and a prism of history that can enlighten, inform and entertain. At the end of the day, how many films still truly resonate long after the lights have come up? Personally, I can count them on one hand, and thankfully The Weinstein Company and the NAACP have taken notice.

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