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'Star Trek: Lower Decks' and 'Picard' nab nominations for 3 NAACP Image Awards

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" and "Picard" warped up three nominations for the 2021 NAACP Image Awards.
"Star Trek: Lower Decks" and "Picard" warped up three nominations for the 2021 NAACP Image Awards. (Image credit: CBS All Access)

Two "Star Trek" series are nominated for the NAACP Image Awards, an initiative meant to honor outstanding performances in film, television, music and literature.

"Star Trek: Lower Decks" and "Star Trek Picard" together have three nominations, representing the first time the franchise has been nominated in decades, according to TrekMovie.com. The awards are hosted by the civil rights organization NAACP, whose vision is "to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race", according to their website.

The public may vote on the nominees at www.naacpimageawards.net ahead of the ceremony, which takes place virtually on March 27 at 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT March 28) live on BET.

Related: 7 Lessons 'Star Trek' Taught Us About Life, Leadership and Diversity

 "Lower Decks" is up for Outstanding Animated Series, with other nominees including "Big Mouth" (Netflix), "Central Park" (Apple TV+), "Doc McStuffins" (Disney Junior), and "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" (Netflix). 

Dawnn Lewis (Captain Freeman on "Lower Decks") has a nomination for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. Other nominees in the category include Aisha Tyler (in the television show "Archer" on FX), Courtney B. Vance ("Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story" on PBS), Deon Cole ("Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts" on Netflix), and Laya DeLeon Hayes ("Doc McStuffins" on Disney Junior).

Director Hanelle Culpepper was nominated for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the series premiere of "Star Trek: Picard", called "Remembrance." Other nominees in that category include Cheryl Dunye (Lovecraft Country – “Strange Case” on HBO), Misha Green (Lovecraft Country – “Jig-a-Bobo” on HBO), Nzingha Stewart (Little Fires Everywhere – "The Uncanny" on Hulu), and Steve McQueen (Small Axe – "Mangrove" on Amazon). 

Related: How Borgs, Vulcans and doctors showed diversity on 'Star Trek: Voyager'

TrekMovie notes these are the first Image nominations since 1997, although "Star Trek" has been recognized since the franchise's first iteration, "Star Trek: The Original Series."

"'Star Trek: The Original Series' (TOS) won an Image Award at the first ceremony, held in 1967," TrekMovie said. "Since then, Nichelle Nichols was nominated for her role in 'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home', Avery Brooks received two nominations for his work on 'Deep Space Nine', and Alfre Woodard was nominated for her supporting role in 'Star Trek: First Contact'."

The franchise has been noted over the decades for its efforts in inclusion, such as having a prominent Black star in the 1960s (Nichelle Nichols in TOS), along with a Russian character (played by TOS Walter Koenig) portrayed positively at the height of the Cold Car. TOS co-star George Takei, however, did not disclose his sexuality at the time out of fear of discrimination in a more conservative society than today's; he officially came out in 2005. 

While it did not receive an NAACP nomination, current series "Star Trek Discovery" introduced the franchise's first transgender and non-binary characters this season, along with its longstanding inclusion of the first openly gay couple of "Star Trek."

"Star Trek: Lower Decks," "Picard" and "Star Trek: Discovery" are available
with subscription to the Paramount+ streaming service, which includes all other Trek franchise series. 

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Elizabeth Howell

Elizabeth Howell is a contributing writer for Space.com who is one of the few Canadian journalists to report regularly on space exploration. She is the author or co-author of several books on space exploration. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Dakota in Space Studies, and an M.Sc. from the same department. She also holds a bachelor of journalism degree from Carleton University in Canada, where she began her space-writing career in 2004. Besides writing, Elizabeth teaches communications at the university and community college level, and for government training schools. To see her latest projects, follow Elizabeth on Twitter at @howellspace.