Dakota Fanning is the New Black

Among perennial nominees Tyler Perry, Will Smith and Queen Latifah, a flaxen-haired young star has emerged to stake her claim to NAACP Image Awards legend.

Dakota Fanning was one of five Secret Life of Bees performers to score an Image Awards nod, joining fellow Best Actress contender Latifah, Supporting Actress candidates Sophie Okonedo and Jennifer Hudson, and Supporting Actor nominee Nate Parker. Their film also made the running for Best Picture alongside Miracle at St. Anna, Cadillac Records, Seven Pounds (!) and Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys — the latter naturally being our awards-night favorite for Feb. 14, however many writers' throats Perry had to cut to keep House of Payne competitive in the TV category.

The Image Awards have been a slightly more multiethnic affair of late, with Angelina Jolie nominated last year for A Mighty Heart and Penelope Cruz considered in 2006 for Volver. Still, pending a comprehensive check of our records, we think Fanning is far and away the whitest person ever recognized by the Image Awards committee. For that outreach, we celebrate them — and hope to Christ they never catch wind of her work in Hounddog. Though Jennifer Lopez was thrown a bone in '03 for Maid in Manhattan, so maybe anything goes.