News flash: The entertainment industry loves award shows. Some are short. Some are long. Some are star studded. Others not so much. But one consistent thread remains: The International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. It’s a mystery why everything ends up here, but somehow all roads lead to Merv Griffin’s pastel-inspired Fortress of Foo Foo Frivolity, and it has been this way for decades (Don’t believe it? Watch Ben Affleck’s Argo, which features the Beverly Hilton as the obvious, logical and proper place to hold a 1970s press junket for a fake Star Wars knock-off film).
This week the Beverly Hilton hosted the 38th Annual Gracie Awards, which is the Alliance for Women in Media’s annual celebration of female on-air and behind-the-scenes talent in media. No one would accuse The Gracies (named after legendary comedienne Gracie Allen) of stinginess with the accolades, as the organization gave out 37 separate awards that took about two and half hours to present Tues night. But the show moved fast, mixing celebrity with inspiration-filled speeches by some of the lesser known honorees. Unlike most of these things, the Gracies felt a bit more egalitarian and real. No Foo Foo Frivolity here. Or at least a bit less than normal.
One highlight: Watching Melissa Etheridge perform acoustic versions of “Meet Me in the Back,” as well as the breast-cancer war song “I Run for Life,” was worth the price of admission. And her words about loving what you do and letting the rest work itself out seemed to hit home.
Lighter moments also surfaced. ABC News producer Megan Chuchmach came to the stage with her elderly mother, who chronically waved to the crowd (she really waved a lot), eventually prompting Amy Poehler to enthusiastically wave back at her from the Universal Television table. Several times. In accepting a Best Actor award for her role on NBC’s “Parks & Recreation,” Poehler thanked her on-screen flame Adam Scott, who she also called her “real life enemy.” He introduced her, but not before thanking the long and awards-crammed program for allowing him to “catch up on my clapping.” The cut-throat nature of the TV biz was also on display. In picking up her Best Supporting Actress award for her role on NBC’s “Go On” (which has since been cancelled), Julie White didn’t mince words. “They say fate is a cruel mistress,” she told the crowd. “Well, NBC is a terrible boyfriend.”
All in all, a fun evening. Here are some of the cable wins for the night:
Outstanding Host MSNBC/Morning Joe
Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Forgotten But Not Gone: Kids, HIV, and AIDS
Outstanding Children/Adolescent Non-Animated Program Nickelodeon
Outstanding Director – News/Non-Fiction HBO/Ethel
Outstanding Host – Lifestyle Program Food Network/Restaurant Remakes
Semper Fi: Always Faithful
Outstanding Documentary MSNBC
Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information BET Networks
Outstanding Producer – News/Non-Fiction HBO/God Is The Bigger Elvis
Super Soul Sunday
Outstanding Special or Variety OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
Outstanding Female Actor in a Breakthrough Role ABC Family/Bunheads
The Cast of “Hot in Cleveland”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Comedy TV Land
The Cast of “Steel Magnolias”
Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Drama Lifetime
The Suze Orman Show
Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information CNBC
Outstanding Drama REELZCHANNEL
CNN Special Projects: Small Business Success
Outstanding Lifestyle Program CNN
ESPN Outside the Lines
Outstanding Sports Program ESPN
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