Drew Barrymore and Wanda Sykes to Be Honored at 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented in Los Angeles by ABSOLUT® Vodka

Richard Ferraro
Director of Communications
(646) 871-8011
ferraro@glaad.org

Kelly Striewski
BWR
(310) 550-7776 (o)
kstriewski@bwr-la.com

February 18, 2010

February 18, 2010, Los Angeles, CA – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced today that Golden Globe Award-winning actress and producer Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award, and Emmy Award-winning actress and comedian Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards Presented in Los Angeles by ABSOLUT® Vodka on April 17, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza.

The GLAAD Media Awards elevate and promote fair, accurate and inclusive stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues, people and allies that have increased awareness, understanding and respect for the lives of LGBT people. The GLAAD Media Awards also fund GLAAD’s work to bring stories of LGBT people and issues to Americans.

Actress Drew Barrymore will receive the Vanguard Award which is presented to media professionals who have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. In 2009, Barrymore took on the role of the lesbian daughter of a widower played by Robert De Niro in Everybody's Fine, nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards, and in 1995 starred in Boys on the Side which won the Outstanding Film award at the 7th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. She also joined thousands of marriage equality advocates in the streets of West Hollywood when the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which eliminated marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Past recipients of The Vanguard Award include Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Sharon Stone, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.

"I was born, bred and raised among diversity, it has defined me and made me the person I am today,” Barrymore said. “I’m honored and humbled to be receiving this award.”

Comedian Wanda Sykes will receive the Stephen F. Kolzak Award which is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community.  In November 2008, Sykes decided to come out at a Stand Out for Equality rally of over 1,000 people in Las Vegas and announced that she legally married her wife in California. She has spoken out about LGBT issues by appearing in LGBT PSAs, performing at LGBT fundraisers and as a Board Member for the Equality California Institute. The Emmy Award-winner became the first openly gay and first African American woman to be the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in 2009 and last year debuted her own late night talk show on FOX. Previous recipients of the Stephen F. Kolzak Award include Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.

“I am truly honored to receive the Stephen F. Kolzak award,” said Wanda Sykes. “I greatly appreciate the work that GLAAD continues to do, promoting equality, fair representation and tolerance for our LGBT community.  I just pray that I don't ruin what GLAAD has achieved with all of my shenanigans.”

Additional information about the honorees and the awards may be found below.

"When Americans see allies like Drew standing up for fairness for all and hear stories of Wanda and her family, support for full equality grows," said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. "It's the voices of diverse allies and community members that GLAAD works to amplify everyday in local communities."

Actress Candis Cayne and actor Wilson Cruz will host the event. Other guests and presenters scheduled to attend include: director and designer Tom Ford (A Single Man); Benjamin Bratt (La Mission); openly gay lead singer of Judas Priest, Rob Halford; and GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. More names to be announced. Awards scheduled to be presented onstage in the following categories include: Outstanding Film - Wide Release, Outstanding Comedy Series, and Outstanding Reality Program.

In January, GLAAD announced 116 nominees in 24 English-language categories, and 36 Spanish-language nominees in 8 categories. A complete list of this year's 152 nominees is available at www.glaad.org/mediaawards.

Each year, the GLAAD Media Awards in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco bring together more than 5,000 supporters to raise nearly $3.5 million for the organization's work.

More than 100 corporate partners are showing their support, including Los Angeles Presenting corporate partner ABSOLUT® Vodka and San Francisco Presenting corporate partner Southwest Airlines. GLAAD is also grateful to the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards Platinum Underwriter corporate partners: Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Time Warner, and University of Phoenix, as well as Underwriter corporate partners: Allstate Insurance Company, American Airlines, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, Harrah's Foundation, Herb Ritts Foundation, MillerCoors, New York City Marriott & Renaissance Hotels, The Palette Fund, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Terry K. Watanabe Charitable Trust and UBS.

General tickets for the Los Angeles event are $300 and VIP tickets begin at $450. For a full list of corporate partners and information on how to become a corporate partner, or to become a table host, purchase tickets or place a tribute in the tribute book, please call (877) 519-7904 or visit www.glaad.org/mediaawards.

Additional GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will take place in New York on March 13, 2010 at the Marriott Marquis, and in San Francisco on June 5, 2010 at the Westin St. Francis. During the New York event, Cynthia Nixon will receive the Vito Russo Award and Alan Cumming will serve as host. Special guests including Nigel Barker (America’s Next Top Model), Bryan Batt (Mad Men), Sandra Bernhard, Brian Graden, Sarah Paulson, Sigourney Weaver and Jill Zarin (Real Housewives of New York City). Robert Hanson (President, Levi Strauss America) will receive the Local Hero Award at the San Francisco event and Bruce Vilanch will serve as host.

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See attachment:
1) Bios of Special Honorees



21st ANNUAL GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS
SPECIAL HONOREES IN LOS ANGELES

 

Drew Barrymore
Vanguard Award

In addition to being one of Hollywood's most sought-after and popular actors, Drew Barrymore is also an accomplished film producer and director.

Born into a family of illustrious actors, Barrymore made her feature film debut at the age of five in Altered States, and at age seven gave her scene-stealing performance as "Gertie" in Steven Spielberg's 1982 blockbuster E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. In 1995, Barrymore starred in Boys on the Side, opposite Whoopi Goldberg who plays a lesbian, and Mary-Louise Parker playing a woman with HIV. Written by openly gay filmmaker Don Roos, Boys on the Side won the award for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at the 7th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

In 2009, Barrymore produced He's Just Not That Into You in which she played a straight reporter at an LGBT newspaper – desperately seeking dating advice from her gay best friends.

Also in 2009, Barrymore took on the role of "Rosie Goode," the lesbian daughter of a widower played by Robert De Niro in Everybody's Fine, nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release at the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

And completing a very busy 2009, Barrymore was nominated for an Emmy and won a SAG Award and a Golden Globe Award for her role as "Little Edie" Beale in HBO's film Grey Gardens, opposite Jessica Lange.

Barrymore has always been outspoken in her support of the LGBT community. In 2003 she told New Woman magazine, "I think a woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful." In May 2009, when the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, Barrymore joined thousands of protesters in the streets of West Hollywood demanding marriage equality, stating "I am who I am because of the people who influenced me growing up, and many of them were gay. No one has the right to tell anyone what makes a family… This [cause] is something that means everything to me."

For her artistic achievements and for her consistent support of the LGBT community in her personal life and in her career choices, GLAAD is pleased to present Drew Barrymore with the Vanguard Award.

The Vanguard Award is presented to media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Past recipients include Charlize Theron, Antonio Banderas, Janet Jackson, Sharon Stone, Eric McCormack, Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Kathy Griffin and Whoopi Goldberg.

Wanda Sykes
Stephen F. Kolzak Award

Outspoken Emmy Award-winner Wanda Sykes is a critically acclaimed stand up comedian, writer, producer, and actress with a successful career in both film and television. In 1997 Sykes joined the writing team for the HBO hit The Chris Rock Show. As a performer and writer on the show, Sykes was nominated for three Primetime Emmy's and in 1999 won the Emmy for "Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special." Sykes won three more Emmy’s, in 2002, 2004 and 2005, for her work on Inside the NFL. Sykes was nominated for another Emmy for her 2006 HBO comedy special Wanda Sykes: Sick & Tired.

Since 2006, Sykes has played "Barb" on the hit CBS comedy The New Adventures of Old Christine. While "Barb" and "Christine" are not lesbians – they did get married to each other in a misguided attempt to keep "Barb" from being deported. Sykes has received three NAACP Image Award nominations for her work on this show and on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In May 2009, Sykes was the featured entertainer for the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner, and was the first openly gay person, and the first African American woman, to perform at that event.

In 2009, Sykes also debuted her own late night talk show on Fox, The Wanda Sykes Show, and in October premiered her second HBO stand up special, Wanda Sykes: I'ma Be Me.

About the passage of California's Proposition 8 in November 2008, Sykes decided to come out at a Stand Out for Equality rally of over 1,000 people in Las Vegas. She also revealed that she legally married her wife, Alexandra, in Palm Springs, California on October 25, 2008.

Sykes has spoken out about LGBT issues by appearing in GLSEN's, "Think Before You Speak" campaign aimed at curbing homophobic slang in schools, by performing at a fundraiser for The Trevor Project, hosting the Human Right's Campaign Dinner, joining Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Tour, and by serving as a Board Member for the Equality California Institute.

For her groundbreaking decision to live her life as an openly gay woman, for her commitment to activism for LGBT civil rights – and for making us laugh for the past decade, GLAAD is pleased to present Wanda Sykes with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award.

The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is named after a successful Los Angeles casting director who devoted the last part of his life to fighting AIDS-phobia and homophobia in the entertainment industry. The award is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for our community. Previous Stephen F. Kolzak honorees include Rufus Wainwright, Melissa Etheridge, Bill Condon, Todd Haynes, Alan Ball, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sir Ian McKellen.