Saturday, April 20, 2013

Reverend's Preview: GLAAD Tidings

After the Oscars, Golden Globes and Grammys, one would think all the awards for 2012’s best achievements in movies, music and television have been given out.  Think again.  GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, will host their annual Los Angeles Media Awards event tonight.

Founded in 1985, GLAAD continues to advocate for and hold the media accountable in their presentation of LGBT characters, people and issues.  The organization has annually honored the best of these representations for the last 24 years, and its awards events are now spread out among three different cities: LA, New York and San Francisco.  Proceeds from each fund GLAAD’s important, ongoing work on behalf of our community.

“Images and stories from the LGBT community continue to push support for equality to historic levels,” according to Herndon Graddick, GLAAD’s new president.  “This year’s nominees enlighten and entertain, but also reflect a new American landscape where a growing majority accept and value their LGBT family, colleagues and friends.”

The films, TV programs and other media being recognized this year include The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, ParaNorman, How to Survive a Plague, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The New Normal, Modern Family, DC Comics, Huffington Post and bisexual R&B singer Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange album.  All in all, GLAAD named 120 nominees in 25 English-language categories as well as 33 Spanish-language nominees in eight categories.  A complete list of nominees can be found online at here.

In addition, special honorees are feted in each of the three cities for their work in furthering LGBT visibility.  Anderson Cooper was presented with the organization’s prestigious Vito Russo Award (by Madonna, no less) at last month’s New York gathering, and former president Bill Clinton will be honored in LA, to be hosted by Drew Barrymore. Awards presenters at the LA event will include newly-minted Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence, previous Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Mary Steenburgen, Tobey Maguire, Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Elle Fanning, Betty White, Chris Evans, Ted Danson, Diane Kruger, Joshua Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio. Also, Grammy Award-winning recording artist Kelly Rowland will perform at the ceremony.

MSNBC news anchor Thomas Roberts has been confirmed as a Special Guest at tonight's celebration in LA, which will take place at the JW Marriott Hotel.  Roberts famously came out as a gay man in 2006 while speaking at a convention of gay and lesbian journalists.  Last year, he legally wed his longtime partner in New York City. Additional special guests include Glee's Naya Rivera and Alex NewellThe New Normal's Andrew Rannells, Justin Bartha, Ellen Barkin, NeNe Leakes, Georgia King and Jayson Blair; Raising Hope's Cloris Leachman, Lucas Neff, and Shannon Woodward; Scandal's Dan Bucatinsky and Guillermo Díaz; and Sara Ramirez (Grey's Anatomy), Brad Goreski (It's a Brad, Brad World); Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower); Trevor Donovan (90210); Maria Menounos (Extra); Scott Evans (One Life to Live); Brad Bell (Husbands), GLAAD's former Entertainment Media Director Chaz Bono and GLAAD National Spokesperson Wilson Cruz.

As GLAAD president Graddick stated, “Now more than ever, viewers not only accept gay and transgender characters and plot lines, they expect them — just as they both accept and expect LGBT people to be a valuable part of their everyday lives.”  The LA Media Awards provides a great opportunity for local members of our community to celebrate this new reality.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the GLAAD Media Awards website.

Review by Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest, Rage Monthly Magazine and Echo Magazine.

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