Last week Tony Award-nominated star of stage and screen, and the first deaf actress to play a Marvel Superhero, Lauren Ridloff hosted the Media Access Awards, in partnership with nonprofit disability services provider Easterseals Southern California.
The virtual event, which was streamed LIVE on 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 U.S, Cha Cha Real Smooth, and Only Murders in the Building.
Founded by Norman Lear in 1979, and now spearheaded by Executive Producer Deborah Calla, and writer Allen Rucker, the Media Access Awards is an annual celebration honoring those in film and TV who include disabled characters and actors in their work, the 2022 Media Access Awards paid tribute to those 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.
“How did I, a deaf woman of color end up becoming an actor? Pretty much by accident. I was asked to tutor the director of the 2018 Broadway revival of Children of Lesser God and then ended up getting the lead role. I already had a degree in education and knew that acting was a dicey prospect for a deaf person, but I loved it and found joy on the stage. I decided to give it one year, and as it turns out I got lucky slaying zombies and becoming one of the fastest superheroes in the whole Marvel universe. I also realized that I could reach a lot more people and have a bigger impact as an actor. My two sons are deaf, and I knew I had a responsibility to ensure that they grew up in a world where deaf people of all kinds could be zombie killers and superheroes and a deaf woman could be strong, fearless and independent, that kept me going,” said Lauren Ridloff during the opening of the show.
The evening was filled with unforgettable moments and awe-inspiring performances by disabled talent as D.J. 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, presents the IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing, building 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 Book)
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 Troy Kotsur, Oscar winner, CODA
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
Presenters: Cast of Love on the SpectrumWriters 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 was sponsored by EXTRA TV, the exclusive broadcast partner; and by Platinum Sponsor IMDbPro.