The Alliance for Women in Media, presented the 40th Anniversary of The Gracies Awards to a packed house recently at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA. Tracee Ellis Ross hosted the gala, which also celebrated the organization’s 40 years of achievements. In honor of that milestone, The Gracies Commemorative Awards were handed out on stage to honorees (which were previously announced on March 4, 2015; full list of honorees attached) in recognition of their stellar accomplishments over the years. Guests were greeted by the musical talents of DJ Amy Pham.
During the Commemorative Awards ceremony, music icon Linda Perry performed a striped down version of “What’s Up,” and a moving rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”
Honorees that attended the ceremony included:
Alicia Menendez, Amy Lee Lavoie, Angela Robinson, Ann Druyan, Carol Stiff, Cicely Tyson, Danielle Friedman, Danny Canon, Diana Olick,Elizabeth Cohen, Erica Hill, Erik Logan, Hoda Kotb, Isha Sesay, Iyanla Vanzant, Julie Ann Robinson, Karen Malach, Kelly McEvers, Kristen Johnston, Laila Ali, Laura Murphy, Lisa Cohen, Lisa Lax, Mae Whitman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Margo Martindale, Mary Stevens, Megan Kelty,Mindy Thomas, Moll Anderson, Noopur Agarwal, Patricia DiCarlo, Regina Scully, Renee Montagne, Robin Sindler, Sadie Calvano, Sara Vilkomerson, Tovia Smith, Tracey Edmonds, Tulip Mazumdar and more.
Presenters and additional guests in attendance included, Abbie Boudreau, Andrea Bruce, Alison Overholt, Alison Sweeney, Brad Krevoy, Catherine Bell, Cecilia Vega, Darren Melameth, Ewan McGregor, G. Hannelius, Jamie Tarabay, Jenifer Fenton, Josie Thomas, Karli Henriquez, Lauren Graham, Lori Loughlin, Maria Elena Salinas, Maria Menounos, Mark Fainaru-Wada, Melissa Maerz, Megan McCloskey, Nicole Beemsterboer, Paul LaRosa, Peter Sarsgaard, Sara Vilkomerson, Stephanie Sy, Tamara Tunie, Yael Federbush, Yara Shahidi, and more.
Highlights from the show include:
- Tracee Ellis Ross opened the ceremony with a light-hearted intro, “So tonight we’ll honor the past, celebrate the present and look to the future…and then we’ll eat dessert–lots of dessert.”
- Kristen Johnston who reminded us all why Gracie Allen was truly a legend, just by being herself, “If she were alive today [Gracie Allen], I think she’d be extremely proud of the women in this room; to know that we, too, stand in our own truths, do the work we love and, hopefully, will leave the industry, and the world, a little better off than when we found it.”
- On a more serious note, Cicely Tyson made an impassioned acceptance speech about the gender disparity that continues in the entertainment industry today: “Women have and continue to struggle to climb from the bottom of the ladder, but it is with the utmost determination that we reach for that next rung no matter how difficult the challenge.”
- Hoda Kotb joked during her speech that she “forgot her clutch, and had to use a Ziplock bag as a purse.” She followed by explaining her philanthropic efforts and played a duet performed by Sara Bareilles and Cyndi Lauper,that she facilitated, to serve as an anthem for children with cancer.
- Ewan McGregor presenting Maggie Gyllenhaal with her award, who gave a motivational acceptance speech about the importance of self-appreciation “It’s really hard even being yourself, even a sprout, but that’s what makes you beautiful.”