Founded by Norman Lear as an annual ceremony honoring those in film and TV who include characters and actors with disabilities in their work will be virtual on Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 6pm PT / 9pm ET at MediaAccessAwards.com and ExtraTV.com/MediaAccessAwards and will pay tribute to those individuals, series, and films that have redefined on-screen representation for the disability community, while advancing the portrayal and employment of people with disabilities in Hollywood.
“Disability is the new face of human rights in America and being increasingly seen and heard on film and TV is a vital step in recognizing this vast minority as part of the American fabric,” according to Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker, CEO’s of the Media Access Awards. “This is the vision behind these awards.”
Deaf advocate and actress Millicent Simmonds will serve as the evening’s host, leading viewers through a night filled with memorable moments, touching tributes, and awe-inspiring performances.
For the first time ever, IMDbPro, the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals, will present the IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing, honoring a groundbreaking, creative luminary whose directorial career has left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry and exemplifies their commitment to inclusion for the disability community, to John Krasinski (A Quiet Place II). This award builds on IMDbPro’s nearly 20-year history of empowering entertainment professionals to discover and learn more about talent and projects, and on its ongoing commitment to supporting and collaboratively working with organizations and events that create and celebrate greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the entertainment industry.
The evening’s honorees are selected by the diversity committees of their professional guilds with awards from the Casting Society of America (CSA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA), and Writers Guild of America (WGA). This year’s honorees are:
- IMDbPro | Media Access Award for Excellence in Directing: John Krasinski (A Quiet Place II)
- Presented by Millicent Simmonds
- Visionary Award: Selma Blair (Introducing Selma Blair)
- Presented by Keah Brown (Activist, author, journalist, and creator of the hashtag #DisabledAndCute
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Marlee Matlin (CODA)
- Presented by Shoshannah Stern (This Close)
- SAG-AFTRA: Troy Kotsur (CODA)
- Presented by: Lauren Ridloff (Eternals)
- SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award: Zeno Mountain Farm
- Presented by Jamie Brewer (American Horror Story) and Zack Gottsagen (The Peanut Butter Falcon)
- Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award: Andrea Warren (Luca)
- Presented by Jacob Tremblay (Luca)
- Casting Society of America Award: Deborah Aquila, Lisa Zagoria, Tricia Wood (CODA)
- Presented by CODA director Sian Heder
- Writers Guild of America West Evan Somers Memorial Award: Ryan O’Connell (SPECIAL)
- Presented by Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
- Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship: Jamie Nieto (Two-time Olympic high jumper)
- Presented by Michael Patrick Thornton (Private Practice)
“The presenters and honorees at this year’s Media Access Awards are examples of how the industry is continuing to move forward to increase disability representation and inclusion,” said Mark Whitley, CEO of Easterseals Southern California. “Easterseals is proud to partner in saluting authentic storytelling and inclusion, both in front of and behind the camera.”
Viewers will be treated to an incredible performance by Rex & Friends, a group of autistic and blind musicians and singers led by Rex Lewis-Clack, a musical savant who has been profiled on CBS’s 60 minutes, and by Kinetic Light Company, which creates and performs at the intersections of disability, dance, and race.
The 2021 Media Access Awards in partnership with Easterseals are sponsored by Platinum Sponsors IMDbPro and Friends producer Kevin Bright; Gold Sponsors ViacomCBS, Comcast, and NBCUniversal; and Silver Sponsors Bunim/Murray, Sony Pictures, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Legendary Films, and Disney General Entertainment Services.
About the Media Access Awards
As the largest minority group on the planet—and as the only minority group that anyone can join at any point of his or her life—the disability community is a robust, diverse, and integral part of our global fabric. The Media Access Awards celebrate this fact by honoring, highlighting, and promoting disability and its depictions in film, television, and new media. The Media Access Awards aim to recognize depictions of disability that are accurate, inclusive, and multi-faceted. Our awards ceremony honors those industry professionals who have advanced disability-related narrative in fields including writing, producing, casting, performance, and directing. We are proud and pleased to be at the forefront of creating and promoting opportunities for some of the brightest talents in the industry. www.mediaaccessawards.com
About Easterseals Southern California
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion and access through life-changing disability and community services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education and employment opportunities. Easterseals Southern California provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 15,000 people each year—from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services, daily and independent living services for adults, employment programs, veterans’ services and more. Our public education, policy and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and address the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans with disabilities today. Together, we’re empowering people with disabilities, families and communities to be full and equal participants in society. Learn more at easterseals.com/southerncal.