×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Media Access Awards Honor Hollywood for Depicting People With Disabilities

Hollywood was saluted on Friday for its depictions of people with disabilities at the Media Access Awards, which honoree Nic Novicki quipped was “like the Oscars, but with more wheelchairs and sign language.”

Novicki said that people with disabilities represent 20% of the population, making them “the largest minority group in the country.”

Celebs in attendance included Norman Lear (who got the only standing ovation), Michael Keaton, Jacob Tremblay and Jason George, but the spotlight was on the people in the audience who work hard to remind the industry that disabilities are under-represented, even with all the diversity-inclusion conversations.

The event, produced by Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker, was held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

Individuals and organizations were honored with eight trophies, including Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman, the Producers Guild of America Award; Telsey + Company, the Casting Society of America Award; producer Fern Field with the Norman Lear-Geri Jewell Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Ruderman Family Foundation, SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award.

Also, Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang, WGAW excellence in writing award; Robia Rashid, WGAW Evan Somers memorial award; Novicki, the SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell award; and Mickey Rowe, given the Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship.

Lear and Field were among the founders of the first Media Access Awards in 1979 and they pioneered depictions of disability; they also hired Geri Jewell for “Facts of Life” in 1980, the first person with disabilities on a sitcom. Keaton joined Lear and Field onstage, recalling that he starred in a short about disabilities for Field back in 1978, “A Different Approach,” which was Oscar nominated.

Lieberman and Hoberman have produced multiple movies via their Mandeville Films, including a trio in 2017: “Stronger,” “Wonder” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

Actor Novicki created the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, in which filmmakers (with or without disabilities) are invited to complete a short film in a single weekend. Rowe is the first actor on the autism spectrum to star in Christopher Boone’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” a play that centers on the topic.

The event was hosted by actor Oliver Trevena and Haben Girma, the first deaf-blind graduate of Harvard Law School. Girma joked that “public speaking is easy when you can’t see the audience.”

More Biz

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content