Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Inside The GLAAD Awards

Saturday night, I attended the 20th annual GLAAD Media Awards, recognizing excellence in representations of the LGBT community.

Held at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square, the two hour plus ceremony included nominees in film, television, documentary and journalism -- and featured celebrities from each of those realms.

The evening kicked off with presenters and former “Law & Order” co-stars S. Epatha Merkerson and Chris “Mr. Big” Noth.

Former “Law & Order” co-stars S. Epatha Merkerson and Chris Noth

As I mentioned on Sunday, I managed to catch Chris just as he was leaving and get a picture with him. My heart was racing as I told him I “really, really, really, really” appreciated it. At 53, the man still has what it takes to make this single gal swoon.

After my Big encounter, I returned to my seat in the balcony of the Marquis’ Broadway Ballroom.

Actress Judith Light introduced a moving montage of historical figures in the LGBT movement, from Brandon Teena and Matthew Shepard to Harvey Milk and Ellen DeGeneres. Among the additional star-studded presenters were actress/singer Vanessa Williams…

Vanessa Williams received a very warm reception from the crowd

…Her “Ugly Betty” co-stars Ana Ortiz and Michael Urie…

Ana Ortiz and Michael Urie presented People En EspaƱol with the GLAAD Award for outstanding Spanish Language magazine

…and “Gray’s Anatomy” star T.R. Knight. Special Recognition Awards were given to Suze Orman and Phil Donahue, while MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann was recognized for his segment and YouTube sensation criticizing California’s passage of Proposition 8.

MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann received thunderous applause

As I watched the GLAAD winners take to the stage, I couldn’t help thinking about past award galas I’ve attended at the Marquis.

Back in 1990, I watched my good friend A Martinez win a Daytime Emmy for Best Actor for his work on NBC’s “Santa Barbara.” Just a few years ago in 2007, I enjoyed the recognition of my peers as well, picking up (along with my Quinn & Co. colleagues) the HSMAI Adrian Award for Best Travel PR Campaign of the year.

Yes, it’s definitely an honor to be nominated. But, as Kate Winslet said after picking up her long-awaited Oscar -- winning is a lot better!

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