Last week, Tony Award-nominated stage and screen star, and the first deaf actress to play a Marvel superhero, Lauren Ridloff hosted the Media Access Awards, in partnership with service provider for the disabled non-profit Easterseals Southern California.
The virtual event, which was broadcast LIVE at the Emmy Award-winning entertainment and pop culture news source, ExtraTV.com honored Selma Blair, Peter Farrelly, David Zimmerman, Allen Rucker, Sofia Sanchez, As We See It, Love on the Spectrum US, Cha Cha Real Smooth and Only Murdered in the Building.
Founded by Norman Lear in 1979, and now led by executive producer Deborah Calla and writer Allen Rucker, the Media Access Awards are an annual celebration honoring those in film and television who include characters and actors with disabilities in their work, the Media Access Awards 2022. paid tribute to those individuals, series and films that have redefined screen representation for the disabled community, while advancing representation and the employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood.
“How did I end up becoming an actor, me, a deaf woman of color? Almost by accident. I was asked to mentor the director of the 2018 Broadway revival of Children of Lesser God and then ended up playing the title role. I already had a degree in education and knew that acting was a risky prospect for a deaf person, but I loved it and found joy on stage. I decided to give it a year and as a result I was lucky enough to kill zombies and become one of the fastest superheroes in the entire Marvel Universe. I also realized that I could reach a lot more people and have a bigger impact as an actor. Both of my children are deaf, and I knew I had a responsibility to make sure they grew up in a world where deaf people of all kinds could be zombie slayers and superheroes and a deaf woman could be strong, fearless and independent, that kept me going. Lauren Ridloff said during the show’s opening.
The night was filled with unforgettable moments and impressive performances by talent with disabilities such as DJ Demers (Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, AGT), Nic Novicki (founder of Easterseals Disability Film Challenge), Danielle Perez (Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Rex Lewis-Clack (60 Minutes) and Chin Injeti (music producer for Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and Eminem). Eva Longoria, Rachel Zegler, Troy Kotsur, Randall Park and Cooper Raiff were among the list of stars who presented the evening’s awards.
Honorees were selected by the diversity committees of their professional guilds with awards from the Casting Society of America (CSA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG–AFTRA), and Writers Guild of America (WGA). IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, introduces IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Leadership, based on its ongoing commitment to celebrating diversity, equity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. This year’s honorees are:
IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing: Peter Farrelly (Green Paper)
Presented by Lauren Ridloff
Lifetime Achievement Award: Allen Rucker, CEO Media access awards
Presented by Jimmy Kimmel (Jimmy Kimmel LIVE!)
SAG–AFTRA Disability Awareness Award: David Zimmerman (Meet the Biz)
Presented by: Geri Jewell (Deadwood)
SAG–AFTRA Harold Russell Award: Selma Blair
Presented by Oscar winner Troy Kotsur, CODE
Casting Society of America Award: Cami Patton, As We See It
Presenters: Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien, As We See It
· Casting Society of America Award: Angela Demo, Cha, Cha Real Smooth
Presented by: Cooper Raiff
Media Access Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award: Cian O’Clery, Karina Holden (Love on the Spectrum) (Netflix)
Hosts: Cast of Love on the Spectrum
Writers Guild of America West Evan Somers Memorial Award: John Hoffman, Only Murders in the Building
Presented by James Caverly
Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship: Sofia Sanchez, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Presented by Rachel Zegler, Golden Globe winner, West Side Story
The 2022 Media Access Awards in partnership with Easterseals Southern California were sponsored by EXTRA TV, the exclusive broadcasting partner; and by Platinum Sponsor IMDbPro.