Out actress Lily Tomlin was presented with the Life Achievement Award tonight by her friends and 9 to 5 co-star Dolly Parton. Tomlin is currently starring in Netflix’s original comedy Grace & Frankie alongside Jane Fonda, the two play eventual friends who bond when their husbands leave them for each other. The series was nominated in Outstanding Comedy Series at last year’s 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She was also nominated in Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, making her only the second actor to be receiving the Life Achievement Award while also in the running as a nominee. Tomlin took a moment in her speech to talk about how much work there is to do in our country. Check out her speech below, and go see a list of the stars who used their time on stage to speak to unity, diversity, and the power of media to bring us all together.
Tomlin also starred in the 2015 film Grandma, which was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award. Tomlin plays Ella Reid, a lesbian poet who just broke up with her longtime girlfriend, and now must help her granddaughter Sage try to get 600 dollars for an abortion before the end of the day. The film also features trans actress, Laverne Cox, as Deathy, Reid's tattoo artist friend.
Tomlin has made history several times during her career. She was the first woman to appear solo in a Broadway show when Appearing Nitely began in April 1977. She also has two of the three top charting female comedy albums according to Billboard listings. In addition to numerous film and TV roles, Tomlin also narrated the 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet, which was based on the book by her friend and GLAAD co-founder Vito Russo. Tomlin married her wife and longtime creative partner Jane Wagner in 2013.
Mahershala Ali won the award in Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Juan in Moonlight. “What I’ve learned from working on Moonlight is we see what happens when we persecute people, they fold into themselves. What I was so grateful about in having the opportunity to play Juan was playing a gentleman who saw a young man folding into himself as a result of the persecution of his community and taking that opportunity to uplift him and tell him that he mattered, that he was okay, and accept him. I hope that we do a better job at that,” he said during his speech.
Out actress Sarah Paulson won Outstanding Performance be a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series. She used her time on stage to ask people to donate to the ACLU if they're able. GLAAD is proud to stand beside the ACLU against Trump's discriminatory immigration policies. The Game of Thrones stunt cast picked up Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series. Orange is the New Black took home the actor in Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy series, the third consecutive win for the series. Lead actor Taylor Schilling spoke for the cast on the power of storytelling, saying, “We know that it’s going to be up to us - and all of you probably too - to keep telling stories that show that what unites us is stronger than what divides us.”
Congrats to the winners!