Jennifer Hudson wins big at Image Awards

Chris Brown, Rihanna both no-shows

The movies "The Secret Life of Bees" and "Seven Pounds," the TV series "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" and "Grey's Anatomy," the TV movie "A Raisin in the Sun" and recording artist Jennifer Hudson were among the big winners at the 40th annual NAACP Image Awards.

The awards show, which Fox broadcast Thursday night from Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium, gifted Hudson, who won a Grammy on Sunday night for R&B album of the year, with its awards for new artist, duo (for "I'm His Only Woman," featuring Fantasia) and album (for her self-titled "Jennifer Hudson").

"This is where we come from," Hudson said accepting the new artist award. "So it's always an honor to come home and feel welcome and to feel the love. I really cherish this and appreciate it."

Tyler Perry, who co-hosted the awards with Halle Berry, had reason to celebrate the TV trophies. His TBS series "Tylor Perry's House of Payne" took home four prizes, including best comedy series and acting awards for LaVan Davis, Lance Gross and Keshia Knight Pulliam.

"You're looking at a stage full of underdogs," Perry said of his winning cast. "Nobody thought we could do it."

ABC's hospital drama "Grey's Anatomy" was a triple threat with wins for drama series, actress Chandra Wilson and a writing award for show creator Shonda Rhimes.

"A Raisin in the Sun" also scored three wins. ABC's adaptation of Lorraine Hansberry's play was named best TV movie and also earned acting awards for Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad.

On the film side, the Columbia Pictures drama "Seven Pounds" brought top acting honors for its stars Will Smith and Rosario Dawson, but the Southern female ensemble film "The Secret Life of Bees" was singled out as outstanding motion picture, and its helmer Gina Prince-Bythewood took the prize for film directing.

Ubiquitous awards winner "Slumdog Millionaire" was not ignored, though. It was named best independent motion picture.

Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson also got to practice her acceptance speech skills. She was welcomed to the stage as supporting actress for her work in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button."

The event drew many of Hollywood's biggest names in the black community. This year's events marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the NAACP and also acknowledged the significance of last month's inauguration of President Barack Obama.

"If there had been no N-A-A-C-P, there would be no O-B-A-M-A," Perry told the crowd at the beginning of the evening. Beyonce's performance, which opened the telecast, included photographs of key people in the civil rights movement as well as Obama.

The drama going into the ceremony involved nominees Chris Brown and Rihanna. Brown is accused in a domestic violent incident that allegedly involves Rihanna. Neither attended the Grammy Awards, as they were scheduled to do Sunday, and neither attended the Image Awards.

Rihanna lost in the category of outstanding female artist to Beyonce; Brown, a winner last year, lost to Jamie Foxx in the outstanding male artist category.

Black Eyed Peas singer performed a song with a choir and African drummers honoring former vp Al Gore and his commitment to global warming; Gore received the chairman's award along with Dr. Wangari Maathai, also a Nobel Laureate.

Gore said that it would take political will to solve the global warming crisis. But he added: "In the United States of America, political will is a renewable resource."

Russell Simmons received the Vanguard Award; Muhammad Ali was given the President's Award. Artists Elizabeth Catlett-Mora, Jonathan Green and Sam Gilliam were presented with the Key of Life Award.

The ceremony concluded with a special performance by Stevie Wonder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

A complete list of winners is on the next page.

The 40th NAACP Image Awards

Film awards

Actor in a motion picture
Will Smith, "Seven Pounds" (Columbia Pictures)

Actress in a motion picture
Rosario Dawson, "Seven Pounds" (Columbia Pictures)

Supporting actor in a motion picture
Columbus Short, "Cadillac Records" (Sony Music Film/Parkwood Pictures)

Supporting actress in a motion picture
Taraji P. Henson, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Paramount)

Motion picture
"The Secret Life of Bees" (Fox Searchlight)

Independent motion picture
"Slumdog Millionaire" (Fox Searchlight)

Documentary (theatrical or televison)
"The Black List" (HBO)

Foreign motion picture
"The Class" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Directing in a motion picture (theatrical or television)

Gina Prince-Bythewood, "The Secret Life of Bees" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Writing in a motion picture (theatrical or television)

Jenny Lumet, "Rachel Getting Married" (Sony Pictures Classics)

Television awards

Comedy series
"Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)

Actor in a comedy series
LaVan Davis, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)

Actress in a comedy series

Tracee Ellis Ross,"Girlfriends" (CW)

Supporting actor in a comedy series
Lance Gross, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)

Supporting actress in a comedy series

Keshia Knight Pulliam, "Tyler Perry's House of Payne" (TBS)

Drama series
"Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)

Actor in a drama series
Hill Harper, "CSI: NY" (CBS)

Actress in a drama series
Chandra Wilson, "Grey's Anatomy" (ABC)

Supporting actor in a drama series
Taye Diggs, "Private Practice" (ABC)

Supporting actress in a drama series
Angela Bassett, "ER" (NBC)

Television movie, miniseries or dramatic special
"A Raisin in The Sun" (ABC)

Actor in a television movie, miniseries or dramatic special

Sean Combs, "A Raisin in the Sun" (ABC)

Actress in a television movie, miniseries or dramatic special
Phylicia Rashad, "A Raisin in the Sun" (ABC)

Actor in a daytime drama series
Bryton McClure, "The Young and the Restless" (CBS)

Actress in a daytime drama series
Debbi Morgan, "All My Children" (ABC)

Directing in a dramatic series
Ernest Dickerson, "Lincoln Heights - The Day Before Tomorrow" (ABC Family)

Directing in a comedy series
Kevin Sullivan, "30 Rock - MILF Island" (NBC)

Writing in a dramatic series,
Shonda Rhimes, "Grey's Anatomy: Freedom Part 1 & 2" (ABC)

Writing in a comedy series
Erica D. Montolfo, "The Game: White Coats and White Lies" (CW)

News/information - series or special
"In Conversation: Michelle Obama Interview" (TVOne)

Talk series
"The View" (ABC)

Reality series
"American Idol 7" (FOX)

Variety - series or special
"An Evening of Stars: Tribute to Smokey Robinson" (Syndicated)

Children's program
"Dora The Explorer" (Nickelodeon)

Performance in a youth/children's program - series or special
Keke Palmer, "True Jackson" (Nickelodeon)

Music awards

New artist
Jennifer Hudson (Arista)

Male artist

Jamie Foxx (J Records)

Female artist
Beyonce (MusicWorld/Columbia Records)

Duo, group or collaboration

Jennifer Hudson, featuring Fantasia- "I'm His Only Woman" (Arista)

Jazz artist
Natalie Cole- "Still Unforgettable" (DMI Records)

Gospel artist - traditional or contemporary

Mary Mary (Columbia Records)

World music album
Cheryl Keyes - "Let Me Take You There" (Keycan Records)

Music video
"Yes We Can" - ( Music Group/Interscope)

"Yes We Can" - ( Music Group/Interscope)

Jennifer Hudson - "Jennifer Hudson" (Arista)

Literary awards

"In the Night of the Heat: A Tennyson Hardwick Novel," Blair Underwood, Tananarive Due, Steven Barnes (Simon & Schuster/Atria Books)

"Letter to My Daughter," Maya Angelou (Random House)

Debut author
"Barack, Race, and the Media: Drawing My Own Conclusion," David Glenn Brown (David G. Brown Studios)

"The Legs are the Last to Go," Diahann Carroll (Amistad)

"32 Ways to Be a Champion in Business," Earvin "Magic" Johnson (Crown Business)

"Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of 'Poetry With a Beat' " Nikki Giovanni (Source Books/Jabberwocky)

"Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope," Nikki Grimes (illustrator - Bryan Collier) (Simon & Schuster)

"Letters to a Young Sister: Define Your Destiny," Hill Harper (Gotham Books)