Lucas & Red Tails clinch NAACP best picture award

After many years of tending the Star Wars empire, George Lucas finally came back with a new, original story, Red Tails in 2012.

While the reviews and box office for Red Tails weren’t spectacular, the film has gotten high marks from the NAACP for its positive portrayal of African Americans.

In fact, as the L.A. Times reports, Red Tails recently won best picture at the NAACP Image Awards. The other big winners were Denzel Washington, who won the Image Award for his starring role in Flight, and Samuel L. Jackson, who won supporting actor for Django Unchained. 

Red Tails didn’t get great reviews, and many felt the drama and characters were comic book level, but you do have to give Lucas credit for putting his money where his mouth is, like he did when he gambled everything on ILM. For Red Tails, Lucas put up $58 million of his own money on the film, including $35 million on distribution. 

As the Hollywood Reporter tells us, when Lucas won the award, he joked, “Look, I beat Quentin Tarantino,” and he also grew emotional talking about the legendary Tuskegee Airmen. Lucas was introduced by Jackson, who has always been a huge Star Wars fan, and he called the filmmaker, “the man, the myth, the legend.” (Jackson is a big Star Wars nut, and he’s made it known he’d love to be in the next movie).

As CBSNews reports, Lucas said he made Red Tails to be a patriotic film, “to show that everybody has contributed to building the country into what it is today.” Lucas also told NBC, “It was designed to be an inspiration movie for young boys,” which you could also say about Star Wars. “They can see they’re part of America, they helped create America, they’re a part of the big picture. It’s a film about heroes, not victims.”