The NAACP Image Awards is always a big party, one of the most spirited, positive award ceremonies to take place all year.
And tonight's show, falling on the first day of Black History Month and in the 150th year since the Emancipation Proclamation, was no exception.
"My New Year's resolution this year was no more cussing," host Steve Harvey told the audience, which included Halle Berry, Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J and Quentin Tarantino. "It ain't been working out for me, so this might be a little bit more live than they think it's gonna be."
But Harvey held it together like the King of Comedy that he is. Here are some of the best moments from Friday's show:
• There may not actually be a sign at Dodger Stadium that says "Magic Johnson, Owner" and the mailbox at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may not sport the message, "Occupied, the Obama family's stayin' here," but we still appreciated the point Harvey was making.
• Kerry Washington, a winner for best supporting actress in a motion picture for playing the tortured slave Broomhilda in Django Unchained (and also the recipient of this year's President's Award), gave a special thanks to director Tarantino in which she further defended his portrayal of slavery in the antebellum South. "I love you, I am grateful to you," she said. "Thank you for having the courage to tell this story no matter what anybody says. You told this story with love and honor in your heart. You made us laugh, you made us weep and you made us remember. Thank you."
• "What a pleasure to be here to grace this stage yet again to present this award for outstanding [supporting] actor in a comedy series—an accolade I've received four times! Four times I've come up there and, each time was completely different. They would call my name and I would just be so surprised every time, " Cedric the Entertainer boasted while onstage with Niecy Nash, who fixed him with a good eye roll and a "wow!"
• Samuel L. Jackson invited 9-year-old Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhené Wallis to collect Viola Davis' best actress in a motion picture win for her "because she's been invited to all these things and we need to see her." It was a super-sweet moment, even though Jackson butchered the pronunciation of her name.
• "I know, I'm sad too, y'all," agreed Halle Berry when Denzel Washington wasn't in the house to collect best actor in a motion picture for Flight.
• Taking some ribbing from copresenter Wayne Brady, who claimed he'd been told he'd be presenting with Halle Berry, Wanda Sykes cracked, "They told me I would be presenting with Halle Berry...I learned to speak French and everything." Added best actor in a comedy series winner Don Cheadle: "I was told I was going to be getting this award from Halle Berry, so, kind of a mixed bag."
• "Wow, OK, this is the last time that I even have a shot to be up here, just in case you're getting' sick of me," Washington promised while onstage just moments after accepting the President's Award, her third time being for best actress in a drama series for Scandal.
• There couldn't have been a dry eye left after Gladys Knight belted out "The Way We Were" during the in memoriam segment.
• In presenting the Spingarn Medal to longtime friend Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier looked and sounded great, a year after his speech was considerably slowed by an apparent stroke. He spoke slowly, but his enunication and tone were classic Poitier.
• "Look, I beat Quentin Tarantino!" exclaimed George Lucas, executive producer of the night's winner for outstanding motion picture, Red Tails.
• Alas, the night ended on a rough note when Entertainer of the Year recipient Jamie Foxx, who was starting to choke up when he mentioned his biological mother, was cut off in favor of a Smash commercial. "This is a brutal business," indeed.
Here are the major winners from the 44th NAACP Image Awards (for the full list of winners):
Outstanding Motion Picture: Red Tails
Actor: Denzel Washington, Flight
Actress: Viola Davis, Won't Back Down
Supporting Actor: Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained
Supporting Actress: Kerry Washington, Django Unchained
Independent Motion Picture: Beasts of the Southern Wild
International Motion Picture: The Intouchables
Comedy Series: The Game
Actor in a Comedy Series: Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Actress in a Comedy Series: Cassi Davis, Tyler Perry's House of Payne
Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Lance Gross, Tyler Perry's House of Payne
Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Vanessa Williams, Desperate Housewives
Drama Series: Scandal
Actor in a Drama Series: LL Cool J, NCIS: Los Angeles
Actress in a Drama Series: Kerry Washington, Scandal
Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Omar Epps, House
Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy
TV Movie, MIniseries or Dramatic Special: Steel Magnolias
Actor in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special: Cuba Gooding Jr., Firelight
Actress in a TV Movie, Miniseries or Dramatic Special: Alfre Woodard, Steel Magnolias
Talk Series: The View
Reality Series: Welcome to Sweetie Pie's
New Artist: Elle Varner
Male Artist: Usher
Female Artist: Alicia Keys
Duo, Group or Collaboration: Mary Mary
Music Video: "Girl on Fire," Alicia Keys
Song: "I Look to You," Whitney Houston and R. Kelly
Album: I Will Always Love You: The Best of Whitney Houston
Chairman's Award: Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, Deputy Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command
President's Award: Kerry Washington
Spingarn Medal: Harry Belafonte
Entertainer of the Year: Jamie Foxx