LOS ANGELES – Wednesday night was full of stars — and you couldn’t even see the sky. That’s because the objects of attention were inside the Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., as The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF) presented the 43rd Annual Gracie Awards.
Entertainment reporter and television host Lisa Joyner led the evening as host.
Joyner kicked off the evening celebrating the strides women have made in the past year. She noted, “From the record setting attendance at the Women’s March, to the wave of sexual misconduct allegations that empowered women to speak their truth, to gender inequality and the wage gap being thrust into the spotlight. And from there, we’re about to make history this year for the record number of women running for public office.”
Among the highlights was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to legendary actress Rita Moreno by Norman Lear. A special performance by Grammy-nominated country music singer Kelsea Ballerini was also well-received by attendees.
The Gracie Awards celebrate programming created by, for and about women across radio, television, cable and interactive media.
This year’s attendees included Megan Mullally, Jon Cryer, Pam Oliver, Elizabeth Smart, Mary Louise Kelly, Shirley Strawberry, Rachel Nelson, Whitney Allen, and Jill Schlesinger, among others.
The 2018 social media ambassador was Sweety High host Cassie DiLaura.
Highlights from the evening include:
● Nick Offerman taking a knee on stage as he held up and presented the statuette for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Musical to “Will & Grace” star and wife Megan Mullally. She accepted the honor as she offered advice. “ I want to say to women and girls, you have no limitations. You can do whatever the hell you want to do,” Mullally said. “Be collaborative but do it your way, just the way you like it. Learn how to say no, but most importantly, learn how to say yes.”
● Sportscaster Kevin Burkhardt presented the award for Best On-Air Talent, Entertainment/Sports to Pam Oliver. She shared with the audience that sports and journalism were always key for success and the challenges she’s had to endure in a male-dominated industry. “You have to protect your dream,” said Oliver. “I’ve been called a bitch at least three times by head coaches but never to my face. If they ever said it to my face, it would be on!”
● Elizabeth Smart, who bravely told her abduction story through the intimate two-part biography special “Elizabeth Smart: Autobiography,” received a standing ovation from the entire room as she accepted the Gracie for Best Producer, Non-Fiction. “When I ultimately decided to tell my story, it wasn’t to put my nightmare on air. It’s because I had met other survivors,” said Smart. Though not all the victims she met had gone through kidnapping and rape, Smart said, “pain is pain, and there is always hope and you can always move forward.”
● Host of “The Real” and comedian Loni Love presented the award for Best Drama to NBC’s hit show “This Is Us.” Executive producer Elizabeth Berger, along with seven of the show’s female writers, accepted the award sharing that they “created the show about women that remind us of us” and about “moving through life with grace and dignity.”
To view complete list of award recipients and honorable mentions, visit allwomeninmedia.org.
The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (formerly known as The Foundation of American Women in Radio & Television) supports and promotes educational programs, and scholarships to benefit the media, the public and allied fields.
The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation has created partnerships and joint initiatives with the Emma Bowen Foundation, NCTA, NAB and other organizations that are philosophically aligned with the mission of the Foundation.
In addition to giving $20,000 a year away in scholarships to deserving female students, the Foundation also produces nationally acclaimed recognition programs, including the Gracie Awards that honors exemplary programming created by, for and about women.
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