Variety Nominated for 72 Southern California Journalism Awards

HER Jean Smart Macheal Coel Variety Covers
HER: Arielle Bobb-Willis; Smart: Robert Trachtenberg; Coel: Sophy Holland

Variety has been nominated for 72 Southern California Journalism Awards, including best website, two for print journalist of the year, three for entertainment journalist of the year, and six for criticism of TV, music and books.

The awards, given out by the Los Angeles Press Club, honor outstanding journalism in the region across print, digital, radio and broadcast platforms.

Executive editor Ramin Setoodeh and deputy music editor Jem Aswad are both up for print journalist of the year. TV critic Daniel D’Addario, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman and senior writer/chief music critic Chris Willman are all nominated for entertainment journalist of the year. And Variety had a whopping three nominees for music criticism including Steven Gaydos, Gleiberman and Aswad. Chief TV critic Caroline Framke and D’Addario were also both nominated for criticism of television honors.

Aswad leads all Variety staffers with 14 total nominations, followed by Willman with eight nominations.

A feature on “I May Destroy You” creator Michaela Coel for Variety’s “Power of Women” franchise was nominated for best cover and best portrait photo. The image, from photographer Sophy Holland, photo director Jennifer Dorn and creative director Raul Aguila, was part of a vibrant series of photographs of several women comedians. The 2021 iteration of “POW” focused the lens on women in comedy and included Sofia Vergara, Mindy Kaling, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, along with Coel.

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Sophy Holland for Variety

The “POW” Louis-Dreyfus profile from Kate Aurthur also received acknowledgement with a nod for feature under 1,000 words. Read the full interview: “Julia Louis-Dreyfus Confesses She Misses Selina Meyer as Much as You Do.”

This is the first nomination for editor of Variety.com, William Earl, who received the honor for “The Invisible Oscars: Consumers Largely Unaware of This Year’s Best Picture Nominees.”

Another first-time nominee, Ethan Shanfeld, got a tap for his profile of Israeli American artist Kosha Dillz: “Jewish Rapper Kosha Dillz Celebrates Hanukkah as Viral Sensation.”

TV editor Michael Schneider gained acknowledgement for his commentary, calling for the Emmys to stop rewarding all the big streamers and pay homage to the long-running broadcast series such as “Grey’s Anatomy” or “NCIS.” That nod was just one of six nominations for Schneider, which included interviews with armorers and propmasters in Hollywood after the “Rust” tragedy, a frank conversation with Michael Keaton, and his Variety cover story on Jean Smart.

Additional Variety covers to receive Southern California Journalism noms include Aswad and Jazz Tangcay’s interview with musician H.E.R., the 23-year-old EGOT-bound music prodigy. Her 2021 song “I Can’t Breathe” was not only a Grammy winner, but also an anthem for protestors and those seeking change. “Knowledge is power, music is power, and as long as I’m standing, I’m always going to fight for us. I’m always going to fight for my people and fight for what’s right. That’s what music does, and that’s what storytelling does,” the musician told Variety. 

“How Lil Nas X Is Revolutionizing Hip-Hop as an Empowered Gay Star,” a cover story by Setoodeh and Aswad, also garnered a nomination for personality profile. The feature detailed how (after spending most of the pandemic “making music and crying”) the musician has reemerged, “a totally different person” — an outspoken and empowered gay man unafraid to express truth in his art.

Elizabeth Wagmeister received three nominations, including one for her cover story on a former “Bachelor” contestant: “Colton Underwood, the First Gay ‘Bachelor,’ Confronts His Controversial Coming Out.”

Giacomo Gambineri, Haley Kluge and Aguila’s work on the Variety “Children’s Hour” cover was recognized for its astounding presence with an illustration nomination.

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Giacomo Gambineri for Variety

“Variety’s Altered Reality Issue” got love for best in-house publication, and is nominated to be considered one of the single-best issues published of 2021.

Double-nominee Rebecca Rubin received honors for her entertainment features “Confused About Where to Watch the Latest Blockbuster? You’re Not Alone” and “Summer Blockbusters Are Returning to Theaters. Will Audiences?” Both were incisive conversations about how we, the audience, consume film. And with the ever-changing landscape at the box office, both stories show an innate understanding of the highs and lows of the past few years in the movie business.

Variety’s video team received a nom for regularly scheduled newscast thanks to “The Take,” the news series hosted by Wagmeister and Clayton Davis. Additional honors include Angelique Jackson and Tangcay’s cover video on the “Black Women of Awards Season,” an in-depth conversation with Viola Davis and Stacey Abrams.

Other Variety nominees include Jenelle Riley for her piece, “‘Stillwater’ Director Tom McCarthy on Casting Matt Damon Against Type and Amanda Knox Criticism,” Brent Lang was nominated three times including a co-nomination with Matt Donnelly for their feature story “Disney’s New World Order Leads to Confusion and Bruised Egos,” Malina Saval was also nominated including one for her story, “Too Jewish For Hollywood: As Antisemitism Soars, Hollywood Should Address Its Enduring Hypocrisy In Hyperbolic Caricatures of Jews.”

Three-time nominee Tim Gray’s work was picked up for several honors including life lessons from Liv Ullmann: “Never Turn Away, Never Kill Somebody’s Dream,” and a must-read appreciation of Sidney Poitier, “A Living Legend Who Changed Hollywood.” 

Executive music editor Shirley Halperin brought in four nominations including an account of the iconic New Years/COVID performance of Justin Bieber atop the Beverly Hilton Hotel (you gotta see it to believe it).

Senior production editor, Terry Flores, picked up a nomination for her entertainment feature on the relationship mechanics behind the beloved Hollywood duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller in, “Phil Lord and Chris Miller Prove the Power of Partnership With Variety’s Creative Impact in Animation Award.”

Brian Steinberg took home two nominations, one for his work on following the not ready for prime players in “‘Saturday Night Live’ Cast in High Demand for Commercials After Years of Making Fake Ads” and another for his news feature on “How a Coronavirus Expert Shook Up CBS’ ‘Face the Nation.'”