“How appropriate for this event to be held in a church because I am now going to preach to the choir,” Hanks announced.
The organization, which advocates for equality by producing, promoting and preserving LGBT stories on screen, honored the actor for playing a homosexual man who was wrongly terminated because of his AIDS diagnosis in the 1993 drama “Philadelphia.” Hanks told Variety on the red carpet that his Oscar-winning performance in the feature was a little late in telling a story that had already impacted so many.
“We were just trying to catch up a little bit in the mainstream marketplace with something that had been going on ten years prior,” he explained. “We were late. We weren’t chicken, but we were tardy.”
Host Whitney Cummings made a wisecrack earlier in the evening that made his performance in “Castaway” also appear LGBT-centric.
“Tom Hanks has made numerous contributions to LGBT cinema over the years,” Cummings spoke. “In ‘Castaway,’ he transitioned into a woman: he starved himself, he screamed a lot and he had an intimate relationship with an inanimate object.”
Also feted at the event was “Olive Kitteridge” and “The Kids Are All Right” director Lisa Cholodenko. Upon accepting the Visionary Award, she confessed to the crowd that she never viewed herself as such.
“I didn’t set out to be a filmmaker or push my political point of view,” she began. “I wanted to use storytelling to elevate cultural conversation.”
One thing that differed from last year’s gala was obvious: the legalization of gay marriage. Legacy Awards co-chair and “Scandal” star Dan Bucatinsky said that cinema and television will always be ahead of its time.
“My character got married even before the Supreme Court decision came through, but I think it was a huge validation,” said Bucatinsky. “It only makes television try to jump ahead of the curve a little more.”
Cummings flashed her underwear during the auction to raise a bidding war, although she had earlier joked that the room was finally filled with gentleman whom she hadn’t slept with. Auction items included trips to various destinations around the world: San Francisco, Napa Valley, Mexico, Shanghai and Paris.
Attendees included Aaron Eckhart, who presented the award to “Sully” co-star Hanks, “Project Greenlight’s” Effie Brown and Linda Perry, who performed a cover of the theme song to “Philadelphia.”