Last night, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation announced the nominees for the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards. The awards recognize fair and inclusive portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in journalism, comic books, theater, television and film.
In their final seasons, South of Nowhere and The L Word are up against each other for Outstanding Drama Series. (Bottom line: sap-tastic happy ending vs. death. Tough choice, really.)
Despite speculation earlier this year that ABC was on a queer-cleanse, the network led the nominations for the third year running. Brothers and Sisters, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Greek, Life on Mars and All My Children received nods in the various TV categories.
Not surprisingly, Milk, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Brideshead Revisited were nominated for Outstanding Wide Release Film, along with hipster-friendly Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
With the presidential election and the heated-debate over California’s Proposition 8, there was no shortage of GLBT coverage in the media this year. Both Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are nominated for Outstanding TV Journalism Segment.
Olbermann’s passionate segment, “Special Comment: Prop 8”, spread across the internet in less than a day in 2008. “You are asked now not to stand on a question of politics, not a question of religion, not a question of gay or straight; you are asked now to stand on a question of love.” Olbermann pleaded with his audience in November. “All you need to do is stand and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.”
Rachel Maddow answered the question aimed at every liberal journalist’s head after the presidential election — “Can you take Barack Obama to task when he steps out of line the same way you did with George Bush?” — with her intense coverage and commentary on Obama’s choice of Rick Warren to lead the invocation at his inauguration.
In the video below, Maddow expounds on her previous day’s story on Rick Warren. “That’s the hole Pastor Rick already put Obama in,” Maddow says. “Here’s today’s fresh digging.”
In happier gay wedding news, “Ellen & Portia’s Wedding Day” is competing for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. The two tied the knot in August, and in addition to allowing People magazine to the ceremony, Ellen talked about the wedding extensively on her show, showing clips and talking through all the emotions she felt on that day.
In the same category with Ellen is Oprah’s episode “The Pregnant Man” (watched at the very least by Ilene Chaiken) and three episodes of The Tyra Banks Show.
Tyra Banks is also being honored with the Excellence in Media award for her long-standing reputation of increasing visibility and understanding of GLBT people and issues.
Suze Orman will also be receiving special recognition in the form of the Vito Russo Award, which honors an out lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered media professional who makes a difference in promoting equal rights for the community. Orman’s straight-forward, no-nonsense advice made her a favorite during last year’s financial crisis. She was a frequent guest on Oprah, and her own show ratings skyrocketed.
Lesbian-favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer is up for Outstanding Comic Book. After the reveal that Buffy and fellow slayer Satsu slept together, the comic book allowed the two characters to process their night together. “I can be less enticing, in a lesbian sense,” Buffy told Satsu. (I am so sure.)
After reading the full list of nominees, I realized that 2008 was the year of go-to-gays. Need help planning a dream wedding? Ellen DeGeneres. Solving an economic meltdown? Suze Orman. Deciphering dense political policy? Rachel Maddow. It wasn’t just the GLBT community that turned to these women, it was the entire country.
“How our lives are portrayed in the media doesn’t make a bit of difference,” GLAAD president Neil G. Giuliano told reporters. “It makes all the difference.”
Despite some minor (temporary) setbacks, it was a good year to be a part of the LGBT community.
The GLAAD Media Awards will be presented at three ceremonies: in New York on March 28, in Los Angeles on April 19 and in San Francisco on May 9. We’ll have full coverage at AfterEllen.com.