There were no Ricky Gervais-style antics tonight.
While always served up with a dose of humor, the NAACP Image Awards is a show with a purpose—in addition to celebrating stars, the ceremony honors entire cultures and the accomplishments and contributions they've made, not just over the past year, but over the past 100 years.
So there were obviously plenty of feel-good moments to highlight. It was a little difficult, however, to single out so-called "worst" moments from a ceremony conducted in such earnestness.
But we did anyway!
Best Non-Hunger Games Use of Lenny Kravitz: The genre-busting hottie opened the show performing "Black and White" and "Are You Gonna Go My Way." It took up a lot of time, but it revved the audience's energy after having to sit through so many awards being handed out off-camera.
Worst Teleprompter Trip-Up: The evening's hosts, Anthony Mackie and Sanaa Lathan, moved things along at a decent pace (note to the Oscars, this live broadcast came in right on time!), but Lathan had some teleprompter issues throughout the night. But at least she acknowledged right off the bat when she had usurped one of Mackie's lines.
Biggest Jaw-Closers: The Help was Best Motion Picture and Oscar front-runners Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer were best lead and supporting actresses. Lovely and well-deserved, sure. But those three wins were the anti-jaw-droppers.
Worst "Cue the Music" Moment: This isn't exactly a show where the long-winded need not apply. Most of the two-hour ceremony was dedicated to the non-competitive Vanguard and President's Award segments, musical performances and a tribute to Whitney Houston. But since certain allowances were made for some recipients, we were a tad appalled when The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi, a winner for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama, was cut off after about 30 seconds. But we were mortified when The Help crew got cut off mid-sentence when accepting the night's top honor!
Most Dynamic Duo: How freakin' adorable were Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte?! The iconic octogenarians, a bit slowed by age (and in the cane-assisted Poitier's case, what appeared to be the effects of a stroke), were like bantering brothers up there, and their presentation of the President's Award to the Black Stuntmen's Association made for one of the most charming bits of the night. "Just the fact that we are standing here proves that we are stuntmen," Belafonte joked, to which Poitier cracked, "You better start [presenting] while we are still upright." "I always listen to my elders," Belafonte deferred to the Oscar winner, who turns 85 on Feb. 27—two days (because of leap year) before the "Day-O" singer follows suit.
Best Badass Fanboy Tribute: Samuel L. Jackson was picked to helm the presentation of the Vanguard Award to George Lucas (if that sounds random, remember Lucas spent years trying to get the just-released Red Tails, about World War II's Tuskegee Airmen, made), and he also provided a dose of fresh, Pulp Fiction-esque badassery as he recounted just how much he wanted to be in the Star Wars prequels.
Worst Fashion Moment: Sorry, Jennifer Hudson. Usually she're all-around stunning. But while the Best Album winner's flowing, light-blue satin gown looked OK from the front—what was up with the nude cut-outs along the sides? It looked like her Spanx had ridden up!
Most Spiritual Whitney Houston Tribute Yet: There was a narrated package showing highlights from the late diva's career, and then gospel singer Yolanda Adams belted "I Love the Lord." Aside from the best picture award, it was a fitting end to the night's celebration.