GLAAD Media Awards: Los Angeles
Two decades ago the GLAAD Media Awards were a small affair designed in response to the lack of LGBT stories being represented in the media. Now, the 23rd GLAAD Media Awards span three nights and both coasts in order to properly showcase LGBT movers and shakers in various media formats.
Last month New York hosted the first round of awards with an evening hosted by Glee stars Naya Rivera and Cory Monteith. On Saturday, April 21, Los Angeles takes center stage for the main event, with hosts so
attention-grabbing, they have yet to be announced.
The New York awards on March 23 featured Dakota Fanning, hip-hop icon Russell Simmons, Top Chef star Padma Lakshmi, Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir, the Food Network’s Ted Allen, Wendy Williams, Jay Manuel and Isis King from America’s Next Top Model and more.
Awards were handed out in a number of categories including Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage, won by The Advocate/Out, Outstanding Music Artist, won by Lady Gaga for her album "Born This Way," and Out- standing Talk Show Episode, won by The Oprah Winfrey Show for the episode "Coming Out on the Oprah Show: 25Years of Unforgettable Guests."
A Special Recognition Award was presented by Harvey Weinstein to the openly gay 17-year-old anti-bullying advocate Katy Butler who has been tirelessly fighting in hopes of securing a PG-13, rather than R, rating for the documentary Bully.
The Los Angeles awards are set to take place at the beautiful Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites and will be a star-studded affair. Celebrities already confirmed for the event include LGBT community members and allies Ellen Degeneres, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Josh Hutcherson, Allie Larter, Giles Marini, Anna Paquin, Molly Shannon, and the cast of Hot in Cleveland-Betty White, Wendie Malick, Jane Leeves and Valerie Bertinelli.
WENDIE MALICK SPEAKS
Wendie Malick and her co-stars are thrilled to see their ground- breaking TV Land show nominated and all are attending the Los Angeles awards together. Malick is no stranger to being a strong ally for the LGBT community.
When she started her acting career in musical theater, Malick participated in Summerstock in New York in college and found herself surrounded by gay men. She found a gay following in the iconic role of boozy photographer editor Nina Van Horn on the hit sitcom Just Shoot Me in the late 90s and early 2000s. She’s even been face to face with a number of Nina Van Horn drag queens. Recently Malick participated in Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays in Los Angeles.
Now, Malick is simply enjoying acting on a show that combines the talents and experiences of veteran actresses in the industry who aren’t usually granted opportunities in their age range. She says, "Hot in Cleveland is a rarity, as a vehicle for aging women that, while amazing actresses, aren’t sought after in Hollywood after 50."
"We’re four strong, sassy and fabulous women and being in each other’s company is collaborative in a really wonderful way," Malick says of her cast mates. She plays Victoria on the show, an aging actress dealing with industry expectations and changes. Malick said the role was a natural fit and something rarely explored on television, let alone through a comedy. She says she "feels more comfortable in her skin and feels lucky to play a role close to her heart and experiences." She compliments TV Land for trusting them to do pretty much anything. As the first scripted original show on the network, they have been given a freedom not offered to other shows.
She also says that Betty White is an inspiration to the whole cast and crew and often has more energy than the other girls.
Malick says that it’s an honor to be nominated and remembers that it wasn’t that long ago when it was hard to find positive depictions of LGBT characters on TV.
"Pop culture really has to credit Ellen’s sitcom and Will & Grace for bringing gay characters into the living rooms of the general public. It’s hard to remember that it was unusual to see a gay character on a primetime show, now it’s almost unusual not to,"Malick explained.
Having Ellen Degeneres back on the GLAAD stage is monumental for the awards. When Degeneres first came out in 1997 and certain local networks stopped airing her sitcom, GLAAD set up screenings to fill the gap and keep visibility. This year Ellen has been in the spotlight for her role in the JCPenney scandal. When Degeneres was announced as the new company spokes model, the anti-gay group One Million Moms petitioned JCPenney to fire Ellen due to her sexuality. JCPenney stood by Degeneres, but in a country where it is still legal to fire someone based on sexuality in 29 states, the backlash struck a chord with LGBT audiences.