Comedian Kathy Griffin and the TV show “The L Word” were among the honorees at the 20th annual GLAAD Media Awards, held at L.A.'s Nokia Theatre on Saturday.
Host Miss Coco Peru got things rolling right away at the ceremony’s onset. “Where else will you see a drag queen, Kathy Griffin and a bishop all on the same stage,” said the former GLAAD award winner and self-proclaimed “low-end celebrity drag queen.”
Before presenting the first award, actress Joely Fisher noted, “If a meteor hit this building, Kathy [Griffin] would have no friends, everyone would look like Susan Boyle … and Ryan Seacrest would be the straightest man in America.”
The first award of the evening went to Ellen DeGeneres, who received a warm standing ovation when “Ellen and Portia’s Wedding Day” won outstanding talk-show episode. DeGeneres thanked her wife, Portia de Rossi, who joined her onstage for silent support. “I don’t know if you saw my show about my colonoscopy,” she joked. “That should have gotten nominated.”
Another highlight came when Julia Louis-Dreyfus took the stage to accept the award for outstanding individual episode for “The New Adventures of Old Christine.” “I just wanted to kiss Megan Mullally,” Louis-Dreyfus said of the winning episode’s special guest star, who joined her on stage to accept.
The first of three musical performances came from Out Magazine’s 2008 entertainer of the year, Cheyenne Jackson, who sang a simple yet stirring rendition of “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Other winners for the evening included “Desperate Housewives” for outstanding comedy series and the previously announced winner for outstanding drama series, “Brothers and Sisters.”
The ceremony had a few somber moments as well. DeGeneres dedicated her award to Carl Hoover-Walker, an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy who killed himself just last week after being taunted heavily by classmates who called him gay. Later on, “Aqui y Ahora” won for best Spanish-language TV journalism news magazine, specifically for its episode about Angie Zapata, who was beaten to death in July after her sexual partner learned she was transgender. In addition to the humorous clips and celebration surrounding the progress the LGBT community has made, lots of time was given to the passing of Proposition 8 in California last November and the struggle that still lies ahead.
Three special awards were given out during the kudos fest as well. Bishop Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, received a standing ovation when he received the Stephen Kolzak award, as did the creator and stars of “The L Word,” when the series received a special recognition award.
As the supposedly two-hour ceremony began to drag into its third hour, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles performed a live rendition of another special-recognition award winner, the popular FunnyOrDie.com video “Prop. 8: The Musical.”
The video’s director, Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”), kept it light and pitched himself as next year’s director, promising “an hour shorter” awards ceremony.
Front-runner “Milk” received the award for outstanding film, wide release, in the least shocking segment of the evening (it was in the gift bag for goodness sake!)
But it was Griffin who made the wait worthwhile when she accepted GLAAD’s annual Vanguard Award.
In one of the show’s best moments, Griffin appeared on stage in a tiny bikini instead of the Dolce & Gabbana dress she wore to the awards.
“I brought my bangin’ bikini bod for you gays!”
Although Griffin was able only to book a presenter, “Grey’s Anatomy’s” T.R. Knight, at 4 p.m. that day, after no one else would step forward, the comedian appeared to love every minute on stage.
“The way kids know they’re gay when they are 7, I’ve known I was a friend of the gays since I was 7.”
By the time Tony-winner Jennifer Holliday graced the stage for the finale, it was to a half-empty audience. Holliday gave an over-the-top performance (note: intense and slightly scary) of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from “Dreamgirls” before the ceremony finally came to a close exactly an hour behind schedule.
Those who stuck out the draining ceremony were treated to a dinner of salad, roasted chicken and polenta and gift bags including the film “Milk,” Go Smile smile touch-ups and rainbow-colored feather boas, which provided a colorful end to a colorful night.
-- Kate Stanhope
Photo: Associated Press