LOS ANGELES, November 10, 2020
Andy Gelb / Elyse Weissman with Slate PR
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Today, the Media Access Awards, in partnership with nonprofit disability services provider Easterseals, announced the honorees of the 2020 Media Access Awards. This year’s celebration, in light of the current pandemic, will go virtual on Thursday, November 19 at 6pm PT / 9pm ET, and will pay 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.
“One out of four American adults has a disability, but they rarely see their lives reflected in the stories told on film and television. The Media Access Awards is an ongoing campaign to change that reality. And it will change. People with disabilities will be seen and heard,” said Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker co-CEO Media Access Awards.
This year, Easterseals will collaborate with promotional partner Film Independent, to make the Media Access Awards available to the public. Additionally, Film Independent will host a virtual showcase in the days following, to highlight the work of this year’s honorees and those promoting representation of the disabled community.
"Film Independent is honored to partner with Easterseals at this critical time," said Film Independent President Josh Welsh. "Fighting for diversity and inclusion in the film industry is in our DNA. The work of Easterseals and the Media Access Awards shine a bright light on shows and films that powerfully address these issues for the disability community."
Advocate, producer, model and actor Nyle DiMarco will serve as the evening’s host and welcome viewers to a night filled with memorable moments, touching tributes, and awe-inspiring performances. The night’s honorees are 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). This year’s honorees are:
The Media Access Awards will also announce the second annual Disability List, created in partnership with The Black List, Easterseals Southern California, and the Writers Guild of America Writers with Disabilities Committee. The Disability List is a curated list of the most promising unproduced scripts featuring at least one lead character with a disability. It is the first list of its kind that aims to specifically identify scripts that further disability representation onscreen.
“Easterseals is committed to advancing greater inclusion and disability representation across entertainment. We salute this year’s honorees for their outstanding efforts in working to change the way disability is viewed through authentic storytelling and supporting talented people with disabilities to build careers in front of and behind the camera,” said Mark Whitley, CEO of Easterseals Southern California. “Through our partnerships with the Media Access Awards and Film Independent, a global audience will have the opportunity to be entertained, informed, and see exceptional examples of disability inclusion valued and honored.”
The Media Access Awards will feature special appearances from disability inclusion supporters including Selma Blair, Whoopi Goldberg, Jimmy Kimmel, Jane Lynch, Howie Mandel, Eric McCormack, and more! Tap dancer and musician Evan Ruggiero will treat guests to an incredible performance, as will aerialist and “America’s Got Talent” finalist Alan Silva.
The 2020 Media Access Awards in partnership with Easterseals are sponsored by platinum sponsor Kevin Bright, gold sponsor CBS, and silver sponsors NBC Universal and Walt Disney television. Bronze sponsors include Bunim/Murray Productions, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, and Sony Pictures. Friends and partners of the 2020 Media Access Awards including the Casting Society of America, SAG-AFTRA, Producers Guild of America, and Writers Guild of America West.
For more information about the Media Access Awards, please visit mediaaccessawards.com or follow the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The Media Access Awards will stream live on Thursday, November 19 at 6pm PT / 9pm ET.
About the Media Access Awards
As the largest minority group on the planet—and as the only minority group that anyone can join at any point of his or her life—the disability community is a robust, diverse, and integral part of our global fabric. The Media Access Awards celebrate this fact by honoring, highlighting, and promoting disability and its depictions in film, television, and new media. The Media Access Awards aim to recognize depictions of disability that are accurate, inclusive, and multi-faceted. Our awards ceremony honors those industry professionals who have advanced disability-related narrative in fields including writing, producing, casting, performance, and directing. We are proud and pleased to be at the forefront of creating and promoting opportunities for some of the brightest talents in the industry. www.mediaaccessawards.com
About Easterseals Southern California
For more than 100 years, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The services provided by Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) – in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Imperial, Kern, San Bernardino, Riverside and Ventura counties – make profound and positive differences in people's lives every day, helping them address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals so that they can live, learn, work and play in our communities. With 2,800+ employees, 60+ service sites and hundreds of community partnership locations, ESSC assists more than 13,000 people, providing adult/senior day services; autism therapy; child development/early education; employment services, veteran employment support; independent living options; and more. Join us in changing the way the world defines and views disabilities at www.easterseals.com/southerncal .