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While the automotive industry is searching for a bailout, the critics have given their stamp of approval to a cinematic “Caddy.” The story of the rise and fall of a pioneering Blues studio,  “Cadillac Records” secured nine nominations to lead the pack for the 2008 Black Reel Awards.

The bittersweet tale of blues legends Leonard Chess, Muddy Waters, Lil’ Walter, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Etta James was artfully reproduced although it struggled to find an opening weekend audience. The literally tale of sex, drugs and the blues featured outstanding performances which were rightfully rewarded.

Jeffrey Wright, Mos Def and Eamonn Walker all received Best Supporting Actor nominations while Columbus Short was recognized in the Best Breakthrough Performance category. The “Caddy” continued to flex it’s muscles garning honors in several other categories including  nominations for Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted (both for Darnell Martin), Best Ensemble as well as Best Soundtrack.

Another film that had a strong showing was the coming of age story, “The Secret Life of Bees” which took home eight nominations. This estrogen-laden tender tale garnered nominations for Queen Latifah (Best Actress), Jennifer Hudson (Best Actress) and the outstanding Sophie Okenedo (Best Supporting Actress). After an eight-year hiatus, Gina Prince Bythewood received nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted. “Life” was nominated for Best Film, Best Ensemble and Tristan Wilds (Best Breakthrough Performance).

Other notable films that received multiple nominations included Spike Lee’s WWII epic, “The Miracle at St. Anna,” the little indie that could, “Slumdog Millionaire,” Tyler Perry tale of interracial deceit between two families, “The Family That Preys,” the Don Cheadle-produced espionage thriller, “Traitor,” the Will Smith holiday weeper, “Seven Pounds,” Bernie Mac buddy farewell film, “Soul Men” and an earlier blues-tinged tale, “Honeydripper.”

Both Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis continued their strong years with Best Supporting Acting nods in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Doubt.”

The rest of the nominations are below and the winners will be announced on Monday.

Best Actor
Don Cheadle – Traitor
Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire
Derek Luke – Miracle at St. Anna
Mos Def – Be Kind Rewind
Chiwetel Ejiofor – Redbelt

Best Actress
Jennifer Hudson – The Secret Life of Bees
Queen Latifah – The Secret Life of Bees
Alfre Woodard – The Family That Preys
Keke Palmer – Longshots
Sanaa Lathan – The Family That Preys

Best Supporting Actor
Jeffrey Wright – Cadillac Records
Brandon T. Jackson – Tropic Thunder
Mos Def – Cadillac Records
Terrence Howard – Iron Man
Eamonn Walker – Cadillac Records

Best Supporting Actress
Taraji P. Henson – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Viola Davis – Doubt
Sophie Okenedo – The Secret Life of Bees
Penelope Cruz – Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Alice Braga – Blindness

Best Director
Gina Prince Bythewood – The Secret Life of Bees
Darnell Martin – Cadillac Records
Spike Lee – The Miracle at St. Anna
Gabriele Muccino – Seven Pounds
Malcolm Lee – Soul Men

Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted
Gina Prince Bythewood – The Secret Life of Bees
Darnell Martin – Cadillac Records
James McBride – The Miracle at St. Anna
Tyler Perry – The Family That Preys
Tyler Perry – Meet the Browns

Best Film
The Secret Life of Bees | Fox Searchlight
Traitor | Overture
Miracle at St. Anna | Touchstone
Cadillac Records | TriStar
Seven Pounds | Columbia

Best Breakthrough Performance
Dev Patel – Slumdog Millionaire
Said Taghmaoui – Traitor
Omar Benson Miller – Miracle at St. Anna | The Express
Columbus Short – Cadillac Records
Tristan Wilds – The Secret Life of Bees

Best Ensemble
The Secret Life of Bees | Fox Searchlight
Slumdog Millionaire | Fox Searchlight
Miracle at St. Anna | Touchstone
Cadillac Records | TriStar
Honeydripper | Emerging

Best Soundtrack
Cadillac Records | TriStar
Slumdog Millionaire | Fox Searchlight
Honeydripper | Emerging
RocknRolla | Warner Bros.
Soul Men | MGM

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