Variety scored nine wins, including best entertainment publication, at the 10th Annual National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards gala presented by the Los Angeles Press Club on Sunday night. Variety Co-Editors-in-Chief Claudia Eller and Andrew Wallenstein also accepted the luminary award for career achievement at the event, which took place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
Variety had been nominated for 32 total awards. In addition to receiving the award for top entertainment publication, Variety‘s wins include best TV/film critic (Owen Gleiberman), and both commentary analysis awards, to Andrew Wallenstein and Maureen Ryan. Kristopher Tapley won best entertainment blog tied to an organization for In Contention, while Janko Roettgers won best breaking or hard news article for “How Hollywood Got Hacked.” Variety also won best feature photo and best photo essay. Best use of social media by an individual went to Jenelle Riley for her Facebook Live Q&A with Patrick Stewart.
Eller and Wallenstein were presented with the luminary award by 20th Century Fox chairman and CEO Stacey Snider. “To be honored by the most prestigious press organization in my hometown is amazing,” Eller said. “We never shy away from a tough story. We are not beholden to anyone in Hollywood, no matter how high their position. If someone is a f— up, we’re going to write about it,” she said in reference to Variety‘s exclusive expose of Matt Lauer’s sexual harassment allegations. “And we will continue to document your triumphs.” Wallenstein asserted the importance of strong journalism in Trump’s America. “In these precarious times, the utmost integrity is demanded of us all,” he said, mentioning the timeliness of Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “The Post.”
Before her presentation of the luminary award to Eller and Wallenstein, Snider said, “In its mission statement, the L.A. Press Club highlights that ‘the work of the award recipients exemplifies smart, ethical, and impactful journalism.’ As a longtime member of both the L.A. and Hollywood communities, I can attest to the fact that Claudia and Andy truly represent smart, ethical, and impactful journalism.”
New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey accepted the inaugural impact award for journalism that makes a difference. The duo wrote the original bombshell story exposing Harvey Weinstein’s years of sexual misconduct, which led to the former film mogul’s swift downfall. Kantor said, although she and Twohey did not previously cover much entertainment news, they feel like “blood sisters of entertainment journalism now.” The duo went on to commend Variety for its recent work revealing Lauer’s wrongdoings.
Lloyd Morrisett was in attendance to accept the inaugural distinguished storyteller award on behalf of himself and “Sesame Street” co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney, who did not attend. Tippi Hedren also took the stage to accept the visionary award for humanitarian work and public service. After accepting the legend award for lifetime achievement and contributions to society, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sat down for an interview with Roy Firestone, who talked to the writer and former NBA superstar about his many accomplishments.
L.A. Press Club President Robert Kovacik (NBC4 Southern California) and L.A. Press Club Vice President Cher Calvin (KTLA) co-hosted the gala. Midway through the ceremony, Alonzo Bodden refreshed the room on the year in entertainment news with a comedic bit. Melanie Griffith, Dan Lauria, Nancy Leal, Wendie Malick, Joe Mantegna, and Mia Mantegna were also in attendance to greet the crowd of media professionals, and to present award winners.