Variety won 16 National Arts and Entertainment Journalist Awards from the L.A. Press Club at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
Variety was awarded the Entertainment Publication in Print award for a joint issue with Rolling Stone on American (In)Justice as well as being recognized as the top Entertainment Website. Caroline Framke was honored as the top television critic.
Award-winning stories included Brent Lang’s Stacey Snider interview, for Personality Profile (Film), Under 2,500 words, print; Owen Gleiberman’s remembrance of actor Bruno Ganz for obituary, film personalities and Michael Schneider’s feature on Chris Kattan for celebrity news, print.
Lang also won Literature/Culture/Arts feature over 1,000 words for “How ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Beat the Odds to Deliver a Broadway Smash.” Matt Donnelly was recognized for his story “Janet Mock Signs Landmark Overall Netflix Deal” in the Business, Film/TV related, any platform category.
Tim Gray won Arts & Entertainment Feature, online for “Behind-the-Camera Crews with Disabilities Prove to Be Expert Problem-Solvers,” while Brian Steinberg won Soft News, online for “Trump and Technology Force TV News Shake Up” and Zoe Hewitt won TV/Movie Industry Feature — Under 1,000 words, print for “To Film in High-Risk Areas, Hollywood Studios Hire Gang Members as Crew.”
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Shirley Halperin won for Business, Music/Tech/Art related, any platform for “XXXTentacion’s ‘Skins’ and the Game: The Players Behind the Posthumous Album,” while Gordon Cox won One-on-One Interview, TV Personalities, radio/podcast for his Tatiana Maslany interview.
Two Variety covers, with Leslie Moonves and George Clooney, were honored with the Cover Art, print and Portrait Photo awards.
Variety also won for best use of social media for the Trans Hollywood issue.
Out of nearly 1,000 entries, Variety was nominated for 70 awards from the Los Angeles Press Club, more nominations than any other entertainment print or online publication.
“I want to thank the L.A. Press Club for recognizing the hard work of our editorial team with a record 70 nominations,” Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller said at the time of the announcement. “I am extraordinarily proud of all of our writers, editors and artists for continuing to make Variety the gold standard of entertainment news journalism.”
The evening was dedicated to the late actor Robert Forster, who served as the very first host of Arts and Entertainment Awards. Dan Lauria spoke about his friend Forster, recalling a conversation about Forster’s collaboration with Quentin Tarantino on “Jackie Brown,” and presented a commemorative plaque to Forster’s longtime partner, Denise Grayson. “If Robert were here, he’d be so happy and proud and overwhelmed. He had a deep respect for journalists and reporters,” Grayson said. “Forgive me, it’s soon. I just want to say thank you and I’m so honored.”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” helmer Quentin Tarantino accepted the Distinguished Storyteller Award for excellence in storytelling outside journalism from his “Django Unchained” star Jamie Foxx.
The Oscar-winner praised Tarantino, quipping, “We have to protect this man because he is quintessentially badass at what he does. He’s amazing and he’s cool. If you believe in that, if you believe in cinema, make some noise now.”
“QT, you take unknowns and make them stars, you take stars and you make them legends,” Foxx continued. “Some directors can make you famous, but Quentin Tarantino can make you iconic and cool.”
Accepting the award, Tarantino said he was “tickled” to receive the honor from the organization, noting the wonderful timing of the evening’s dedication to Forster before launching into a story about how seeing the late actor in the B-movie “Alligator” in 1980 eventually inspired him to cast Forster in “Jackie Brown” 17 years later.
Rosanna Arquette presented the next award to #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, who Arquette lauded for coining “a phrase that shattered the silence.”
“It’s always humbling to be honored for your hard work and this work is hard.” Burke said, acknowledging the worldwide conversation about sexual abuse that has blossomed since the hashtag went viral in 2017. “We’re in a unique historical moment — and I have to say this in a room full of journalists — and we have to be careful not to squander this moment and this opportunity right in front of us.”
“I implore you to resist the narratives that only exist to derail the movement,“ she continued. “You don’t have to be activists, you just have to be good at your job, because you being good at your job makes it easier to be good at mine.”
“It was interesting to listen to the previous honoree and he had Jamie Foxx, who I admire, talking about protection because this is the space where we should talk about protection for real,” Burke said. “Some folks don’t need protection, but I can tell you who does — the people who need protection are those folks who feel powerless, who feel like they have to do anything at all costs to these people who have unchecked accumulations of power and Hollywood is a bastion of power that is unchecked. So we’re going to talk about protecting people. We should start with the people who have the least amount of power.”
Burke ended her speech: “Shout out to Uma Thurman.”
After the speech, Burke told Variety that she didn’t intend to start anything with Tarantino through her comments, but instead to make sure people were paying attention to the juxtaposition of the two being honored on the same bill, after Tarantino’s complicated relationship with Thurman (who says she was injured on the set of “Kill Bill” after the director’s insistence she perform a stunt she felt was unsafe) and his working relationship with disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
Also honored was Ann-Margret who accepted the Legend Award, celebrating her more than 50-year acting career and her broader contributions to society. Danny Trejo was honored with the Visionary Award for his humanitarian work in the L.A. community and beyond. TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz received the Luminary Award for career achievement from brother Josh Mankiewicz, who celebrated journalists for fighting through criticisms by the most powerful person in the country, saying that their “undisputed truths have never been more in dispute.”