Adding her voice to those against the war in Iraq and displaying her characteristic outspokenness, Rosie O’Donnell split the crowd and proved a controversial honoree Monday at the 14th annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York.
While the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation event usually unfolds as a lovefest, O’Donnell’s anti-war comments prompted equal parts booing and impassioned applause from the crowd at the midtown Marriott Marquis. She received the evening’s Vito Russo Award for her contribution toward eliminating homophobia.
“I’ve never seen the media turn on a celebrity the way they did on Rosie,” observed presenter Cyndi Lauper. “She was turned from the Queen of Nice to the Queen of the Damned.”
O’Donnell was on safer ground with the power-gay crowd when she acknowledged the long road that led to her going public about her homosexuality.
“I’m sorry that I wasn’t here sooner, seriously,” she said. “But you get there when you get there. And is there one person in this room who didn’t know I was a big dyke before that day?”
The evening’s other principal honoree was Excellence in Media Award recipient Diane Sawyer, for her groundbreaking stories on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, including candid interviews with O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, baseball player Billy Bean and football player Esera Tuaolo. Sawyer’s “Good Morning America” faceoff with anti-gay conservative Jerry Falwell also contributed to her winning kudos.
In addition to her individual honor, Sawyer’s “Primetime Thursday” interview with O’Donnell on adoption laws earned the GLAAD award for TV journalism. Double honors also went to O’Donnell for her own talkshow segment “Adopted by Gay Parents.”
Other awards presented included limited-release film, to Fox Searchlight’s “Kissing Jessica Stein,” and documentary, to Sandi DuBowski’s “Trembling Before G-d.” Music Album award went to “A Wonderful World” by k.d. lang and Tony Bennett, who dueted at the ceremony.
Kudos to Teen People, USA Today
Also honored were Teen People and USA Today, respectively for magazine and newspaper overall coverage; the Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts for newspaper columnist; and, for magazine article, “About a Boy Who Isn’t” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis in the New York Times Magazine. Telemundo-aired “Daniela” and MTV’s “Undressed” tied for daily drama.
Legit honors went to Edward Albee’s Tony winner “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?”; for Off Off Broadway to musical fairy tale “Zanna Don’t!,” since upgraded to an Off Broadway berth; and for Washington, D.C., to Terrence McNally’s “Corpus Christi.”
Other 2003 GLAAD awards, including honors to Stockard Channing, Todd Haynes, Eric McCormack and Christina Aguilera, will be presented at ceremonies in Los Angeles and San Francisco.