Deaf advocate, and actress Millicent Simmonds hosted last week’s Media Access Awards, in partnership with nonprofit disability services provider Easterseals.
The annual ceremony which aired virtually on ExtraTV.com/MediaAccessAwards and mediaaccessawards.com was founded by Norman Lear and now under the leadership of Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker since 2010, honors those in film and TV who include characters and actors with disabilities. The event pays tribute to individuals, series, and films that have redefined on-screen representation for the disability community, while advancing the portrayal and employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood.
The evening’s 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).
For the first time ever, IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, presented the IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing, honoring a groundbreaking, creative luminary whose directorial career has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and exemplifies their commitment to inclusion for the disability community. The award, which was presented to A Quiet Place’s John Krasinski, builds on IMDbPro’s nearly 20-year history of empowering entertainment professionals to discover and learn more about talent and projects, and on its ongoing commitment to supporting and collaboratively working with organizations and events that create and celebrate greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry.
This year’s honorees include:
IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing Award: John Krasinski (A Quiet Place II)
Visionary Award: Selma Blair (Introducing Selma Blair)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Marlee Matlin (CODA)
SAG-AFTRA: Troy Kotsur (CODA)
SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award: Zeno Mountain Farm
Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award: Andrea Warren (Luca))
Casting Society of America Award: Deborah Aquila, Lisa Zagoria, Tricia Wood (CODA)
Writers Guild of America West Evan Somers Memorial Award: Ryan O’Connell (SPECIAL)
Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship: Jamie Nieto (Two-time Olympic high jumper)
Viewers were treated to awe-inspiring performances by Rex & Friends, a group of autistic and blind musicians and singers led by Rex Lewis-Clack, a musical savant who has been profiled on CBS’s 60 minutes, and by Kinetic Light Company, which creates and performs at the intersections of disability, dance, and race. Other celebrity appearances included Lauren Ridloff, Jimmy Kimmel, Russell Crowe, Keah Brown, Jim Parsons, Zac Efron, Meredith Scott Lynn, Jacob Tremblay, Wilmer Valderrama, Sian Heder, Shoshannah Stern, Jamie Brewer, Zack Gottsagen, Michael Patrick Thornton and more…
The 2021 Media Access Awards in partnership with Easterseals was sponsored by Platinum Sponsors IMDbPro and Friends producer Kevin Bright; Gold Sponsors ViacomCBS, Comcast, and NBCUniversal; and Silver Sponsors Bunim/Murray, Sony Pictures, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Legendary Films, Woman of Her Word, and Disney General Entertainment Services. The 2021 Media Access Awards is a Calla Productions, EP by Deborah Calla and written by Allen Rucker.