×
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

  • Times Up Hollywood

    Time's Up Entertainment Announces New Industry Mentoring Initiative

    Time’s Up Entertainment, an affiliate of the Time’s Up coalition of women across industries working to improve workplace safety, has announced the “Who’s in the Room” industry mentoring initiative. The program’s goal is to increase the presence of people of color from diverse backgrounds in the entertainment industry’s executive ranks. Funded by a $500,000 grant from [...]

  • Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt in

    Paramount Inks Deal for Theme Park in South Korea

    Paramount Pictures has announced a deal to install a studio-branded theme park in an entertainment resort being developed in South Korea. The agreement was struck between Paramount and Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which owns the Inspire Integrated Entertainment Resort in the South Korean city of Incheon. Mohegan has invested KRW 2.8 trillion ($2.4 billion) in [...]

  • Davan Maharaj Mel Gibson

    L.A. Times Publisher's Lawyer Was Accused of Extorting Mel Gibson

    The attorney who negotiated a $2.5 million exit package for L.A. Times publisher Davan Maharaj was previously accused of using secret recordings to extort actor Mel Gibson. Surreptitious recordings also figure in the Maharaj case. NPR reported on Wednesday that Maharaj taped Tronc chairman Michael Ferro. According to the report, Ferro was heard on the [...]

  • 'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5

    'Blurred Lines' Suit Ends With $5 Million Judgement Against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams

    After five years, the legal battle over the copyright of the Robin Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines” has ended, with Marvin Gaye’s family being awarded a final judgment of nearly $5 million against the song’s primary writers, Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams, according to CNN and other reports. The pair were accused of copyright infringement [...]

  • WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to

    WME Veteran Ari Greenburg Promoted to President of Talent Agency

    WME veteran Ari Greenburg, one of the original Endeavor staffers who helped build the talent agency that became an industry powerhouse, has been promoted to president. Greenburg will oversee all daily operations across WME and its offices in Beverly Hills, New York, Nashville, London and Sydney. The promotion recognizes the role that Greenburg has played [...]

  • Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO

    Alison Wenham Steps Down as CEO of WIN

    After 12 years at the helm of the Worldwide Independent Network, a global trade organization for the independent music industry, Alison Wenham is stepping down as Chief Executive, it was announced today. Prior to joining WIN full time in 2016 Alison was CEO of The Association of Independent Music (AIM), which she started in 1999. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content