'The Help' wins early at NAACP Image Awards

By Sandy Cohen

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 17 2012 7:10 p.m. MST

Idina Menzel arrives at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards on Friday, Feb. 17, 2012, in Los Angeles.

Matt Sayles, Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Octavia Spencer is continuing her sweep of supporting actress accolades, adding an Image Award to her collection of trophies.

The star of "The Help" was an early winner Friday at the 43rd annual ceremony, where Lenny Kravitz opened the show with a pair of songs.

Other early winners included Mike Epps, who won outstanding supporting actor for "Jumping the Broom," and Tracee Ellis Ross and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who were named outstanding actress and actor in a comedy series for "Reed Between the Lines."

Actors Anthony Mackie and Sanaa Lathan are hosting the star-studded show at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Several special tributes were planned for the two-hour ceremony.

Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte preceded their presentation of the President's Award to the Black Stuntmen's Association with a comic exchange about what they were doing on stage.

"We are not stuntmen," said Poitier, 85.

"Just the fact that we're standing here, we could be stuntmen," Belafonte, 84, quipped.

A special honor for George Lucas and a tribute to Whitney Houston were planned for later in the ceremony.

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