It was a stunning moment for Hollywood in Gotham tonight. The National Board of Review and Willie Geist hosted their annual awards ceremony to honor excellence in filmmaking with categories that included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Actress, Best Original and Adapted Screenplay, Breakthrough Performance, and Directorial Debut, as well as signature honors such as the Freedom of Expression, and the NBR Spotlight Award.
Midtown was a glorious shinning exhibit of stunning artwork and artists being applauded for their work in the industry this awards season. With a strong year in cinema across the board filmmakers celebrated the fact that their work was recognized tonight and across the world.
“When you tell a story that makes the audience emphathize with the characters regardless if they are from the same background or not, I think that is the first step in storytelling that breaks down barriers between different communities,” said honoree Lee Unkrich on the carpet.
Those amongst the distinguished included Best Director recipient, Greta Gerwig, Best Actor recipient, Tom Hanks, Best Actress recipient, Meryl Streep, Best Supporting Actor recipient, Willem Dafoe, Best Supporting Actress recipient, Laurie Metcalf, Best Screenplay recipient, Paul Thomas Anderson, Best Adapted Screenplay recipients, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, Best Breakthrough Performance recipient, Timothée Chalamet, Best Directorial Debut recipient, Jordan Peele, Spotlight Award recipients Patty Jenkins & Gal Gadot, with presenters Christiane Amanpour, Ken Burns, Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Dave Franco, James Franco, Armie Hammer, Daniel Kaluuya, Brett Morgen, John Ridley, Saoirse Ronan, Steven Spielberg, Allison Williams and more. Other attendees will include Amy Pascal, Kristie Macosko, Rita Wilson, Lupita Nyong’o, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Angelina Jolie, Loung Ung, Bennett Miller, and others.
For over 108 years, the National Board of Review has dedicated its efforts to the support of cinema as both art and entertainment. Each year, this select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals and academics of varying ages and backgrounds watches over 250 films and participates in illuminating discussions with directors, actors, producers and screenwriters before announcing their selections for the best work of the year in early December prior to an annual ceremony in January.
Since first citing year-end cinematic achievements in 1929, NBR has recognized a vast selection of outstanding studio, independent, foreign- language, animated and documentary films, often propelling recipients such as George Miller’s visionary 2015 Best Film winner Mad Max: Fury Road into the larger awards conversation. NBR also stands out as the only film organization that bestows an annual film history award in honor of former member and film historian William K. Everson. In addition, one of the organization’s core values is identifying new talent and nurturing young filmmakers by awarding promising talent with ‘Directorial Debut’ and ‘Breakthrough Actor’ awards as well as grants to rising film students and by facilitating community outreach through the support of organizations such as The Ghetto Film School, Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, and Educational Video Center. With its continued efforts to assist up-and-coming artists in completing and presenting their work, NBR honors its commitment to not just identifying the best that current cinema has to offer, but also ensuring the quality of films for future generations to come.
Ultimate Power Lunch – UN Women For Peace Association Hosts Star-Studded Celebration
This was not another ladies who lunch moment in the Big Apple. This was the best power lunch this season and it was all for a phenomenal cause.
On May 3, hundreds of attendees gathered inside the grand of hall of Casa Cipriani for the UN Women For Peace Association Annual Awards Luncheon. The afternoon was graced with an uplifting and harmonious affair that was one for the history books. In this moment in history the gratitude and love that filled the room was deeply appreciated and revered. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Christian Elliott, The Honorable Joanne King Herring, Vicki Hollub, and Kevin Hyland OBE were all respectfully honored by UNWFPA for achievements that have been the touchstone of change in modern times.
Rosanna Scotto of FOX 5’s, Good Day New York emceed the delightful day that showcased the incredible strength of the women who were celebrated. Sitting over lunch, the crowd took in moving performances in between speeches that brought forth an equal amount of tears, laughter and inspiration. Wendy Moten sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow and country star Drew Baldridge sang his original song She’s Somebody’s Daughter.
As each award was presented the crowd was uplifted to their feet and applauded. It was a fitting tone for the harmonious event that made each guest realize the truly powerful mission statement of the organization.
Moments like when actress and SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, made the keynote address made the men and women in the room listen with awe. Sharing her personal story of rape survival, she brought to attention the much needed work that continues to be needed around the world.
The advocate stated with direct determination about her work with the group along with SAG-AFTRA, “We support the UN Trust Fund to end violence against women and girls as well as our own initiatives to impact national necessary changes in this area. We are committed to the prevention of violence against women and girls in the provision of services to those affected by violence. Just read from the implementation of laws and policies against violence, and to the empowerment of women and girls and societies where they’re under advantaged. This year we are launching an aggressive generational campaign called counting on men as we believe, without addressing men and boys, we will continue to fail to make progress on the issues related to violence against women and girls.”
A key highlight of the lunch was when UNWFPA President Rema DuPont presented a posthumous Legacy Award to UNWFPA Founder, Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser. Her husband H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, with their son, Aziz Al-Nasser in the audience, accepted the award in her honor.
“UN Women for Peace Association will continue to support women and girls with our new Muna Rihani Al-Nasser Scholarship Fund for educating at-risk and underprivileged girls,” stated Rema.
Luncheon Co-Chairs were H.E. Sheikha Paula al Sabah, H.R.H. Princess Camilla of Bourbon of Two Siciles, Duchess of Castro, Susan Gutfreund, Leila Heller, Francine LeFrak, Pat Kerr Tigrett, and Regional Chairs include Countess Bérengère de Pontac, Genesis Jones, Annie Joubran, Youngsong Martin, Melissa Metz, Suzan Lee Park, Dr. Christina Rahm-Thomas, and Clayton Thomas. Guests included Reagan and Doug Bauer, Rita Cosby, Amanda Diaz, Kat Graham (award presenter), AnnaLynne McCord with Benjamin W. Decker, Denise Schwartz and Marc Rosen, Barbara Tober, as well as UNWFPA Board of Directors Michal Grayevsky (Treasurer), Valbona Neritani, and Anne Marie Dougherty.
Other notable honorees included Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo received the Leadership Award for her decades of work as a peacekeeper and an advocate for women’s rights. In 2018 DiCarlo became the first woman to assume the position of Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs at the United Nations. DiCarlo has served at the United States Department of State as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and represented the United States at the Security Council, General Assembly and other United Nations bodies. Past recipients of this award include First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo Garcia de Varela, Deborra-Lee Furness, Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The Honorable Joanne King Herring received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding achievements and years of work to end human trafficking and for helping survivors, which are disproportionately women and children. Herring is a political activist, philanthropist, diplomat, and former television talk show host. While she was born in a world where women had limited choices, she rose to form the most significant alliance that brought an end to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan and saved America from an economic catastrophe. Long known within the corridors of power in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Herring’s freedom fighting role in southwest Asia was brought to a wider American audience when the true-life 1980s story of Charlie Wilson’s War was retold in 2007, with Oscar winning actress Julia Roberts playing the remarkable Herring. Past recipients of this award include Eve Branson, Loreen Arbus, and Francine LeFrak.
Kevin Hyland OBE received the Advocacy Award for his remarkable contributions to ending violence against women and girls everywhere. Hyland dedicated over 30 years to public service, including leading London’s Human Trafficking Unit. Hyland was appointed as the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and was elected as Ireland’s representative to the Council of Europe Independent Group of Experts for Trafficking. He was instrumental in the establishment and remains chief advisor to the Santa Marta Group, a high-level partnership between law enforcement agencies, faith groups and civil society launched by Pope Francis at the Vatican. He leads several international anti trafficking projects chairing the Responsible Recruitment Group of the Institute of Human Rights and Business and the Island of Ireland Human Trafficking Project and provides strategic leadership to the OSCE in producing global victim support guidance.
Vicki Hollub received the Humanitarian Award for her outstanding achievements in rescuing over 500 girls, and their families, by bringing them safely from Afghanistan to Portugal. Hollub was the first woman to head a major American oil company as President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum. She also serves on the boards of Lockheed Martin and the American Petroleum Institute, and is a stewardship board member for the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy and Material, and a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. Past recipients of this award include Leyla Ilham Aliyeva, Dayle Haddon, HRH Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, and Paul Bettany.
Christian Elliott received the Media Award for his heroic efforts to end modern-day slavery. Elliot created the global campaign to combat human trafficking, entitled Can you see me?. The campaign reached millions of people, equipping the general public to recognize indicators of human trafficking, and report suspected scenarios. Elliot is Global Development Officer of A21, a nonprofit organization works to end in human trafficking, with offices in 14 countries worldwide.
This was truly one lunch that will never be forgotten.
‘The Hollywood Reporter’ Hosts ‘Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda’
The Hollywood Reporter hosted the inaugural “Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda” luncheon, presented by Walmart at the Maybourne Beverly Hills on Wednesday, April 20th.
“Raising Our Voices” brings together the industry’s most influential and inspiring executives, storytellers and thought-leaders for a groundbreaking series of discussions on the state and future of Hollywood’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement.
During the program, keynote speaker Marlee Matlin (Academy Award-winning actor, star of Apple Studios’ 2022 “Best Picture” Oscar-winner CODA and disability advocate) was introduced by Troy Kotsur (2022 “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar-winner, CODA). During the speech, Matlin discussed the lack of representation of the deaf and disabled community within the entertainment industry and the importance of working together to help amplify these authentic and diverse voices.
Additional key moments from the program included:
- Bird Runningwater (producer and global Indigenous activist) and Crystal Echo Hawk (President and CEO at IllumiNative) opened the program and discussed the importance of inclusion.
- Nekesa Mumbi Moody (Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter) introduced Geena Davis (Oscar-winning actor, Founder/Chair, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, The Bentonville Film Festival) who recognized the need for more female inclusion within children and family media and made it her career goal to bring about more diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.
- Geena Davis introduced Jean Batthany (Walmart Chief Creative Officer) who discussed Walmart’s commitment to driving greater equity and the power of Hollywood to inspire systemic change in society.
- Rebecca Sun (The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Editor, Diversity and Inclusion) introduced Dr. Yalda Uhls (UCLA assistant adjunct professor and Founder of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers) who shared details regarding data included in the first inclusion report in 2020 and how diversity affects Hollywood production.
- Stacey Wilson Hunt (award-winning entertainment journalist) led the State of Inclusion in Hollywood panel, which included questions posed to Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation, GLAAD), Dr. Sharoni Little (Head of Global Inclusion Strategy at CAA), Gloria Calderón Kellett (writer, producer, director and actor), Latasha Gillespie (Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios, Prime Video and IMDb), Samata Narra (Senior Vice-President, Equity + Inclusion, Content, Warner Bros. Discovery) and Wilmer Valderrama (actor and activist).
- Julie Gehrki (Vice President of Philanthropy, Walmart) and Tony Waller (Vice President, Constituent Relations and Racial Equity, Walmart) discussed Walmart’s efforts to advance racial equity and announced a $1 million grant to the Ghetto Film School to create a storytelling training program for Black businesses in partnership with WOCStar Capital.
- Colleen Bataille (Head of Marketing and Communications, WOCStar Capital) and Ghetto Film School student, Alyse Arteaga discussed how Walmart’s grant allows the organizations to help Black businesses market their companies and secure capital through storytelling, in turn helping to grow their businesses.
- Carlos Lopez Estrada discussed the Ghetto Film School’s mission to teach its students how to use their voices to tell authentic, impactful stories and how the support from Walmart aligns with this mission.
- Richie Siegel (Co-founder and President of Inevitable Foundation) and Nic Novicki (Founder and Director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge) discussed representation and accommodation for disabled individuals. Novicki also outlined the goals of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
- Heather Rossi (American Sign Language interpreter and chief ASL consultant on CODA), Jack Jason, Justin Maurer and Rorri Burton acted as interpreters during the program.
Additional notable talent in attendance included Amy Landecker, Daniel Durant and Natalie Morales.
Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame Awards Honors Media Trailblazers
It was a night that honored the best in media.
On Thursday, April 14, the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame Awards took place. The 30th anniversary gala paid tribute to the pioneers, innovators and stars of broadcast, cable, and broadband television.
More than 800 decision makers in the broadcast, cable TV and other media industries gathered in the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City for the memorable evening.
Hannah Storm and Al Roker co-hosted the luxurious soiree that presented the first ever Iconic Network Award to ESPN.
Twelve of the industry’s most notable individuals were inducted into the 2022 Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame during the 30th Anniversary Gala including: Savannah Guthrie – Co-Anchor of TODAY and NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent; Hoda Kotb – Co-Anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and Co-Host of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna; Emily Barr – President & CEO, Graham Media Group; Nomi Bergman – President, Advance/Newhouse Investment Partnership; Brandon Burgess – Former Chairman/CEO ION Media Networks; Susanne Daniels – Media Consultant & Lecturer – Former Global Head of YouTube Originals; Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group; Leo MacCourtney – President, Katz Television Group; Dan Mason – Past President and CEO, CBS Radio; Steve Miron – Chief Executive Officer, Advance/Newhouse Partnership; Steven R. Swartz – President & CEO, Hearst; and Curtis Symonds – President, HBCU GO TV/Allen Media Group.
During an emotionally empowering speech, Kotb brought the audience to near tears as she spoke about her incredible and inspirational journey to the top of the industry.
“I am grateful to be inducted into the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame,” she proudly told the audience. “This award is to all the women who felt not worthy. You are worth it.”
The entire gala carried the same tone of beautiful and hopeful remarks that gloriously brought dignity to each one of the recipients. A coveted Hall of Fame honor is more than the acknowledgement of a successful career – it’s entry into an exclusive community of honorees that have truly changed the paradigm of the industry.
Previous honorees have included greats like Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw, Michael Powell, the cast of The View, Robert A. Iger, Dr. John Malone and more.
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