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Jennifer Anniston captures Vanguard Award
GLAAD honors Martina Navritalova, casts of ‘Ugly Betty,’ ‘Brothers & Sisters’ and ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Jennifer Anniston accepting the GLAAD Vanguard Award.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, Neil Patrick Harris, Rachel Griffiths, Garry Marshall, Sarah Paulson and Eva Mendes were among the dozens of celebrities who joined the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) as it honored Jennifer Aniston, Martina Navratilova and the best in film, television and journalism April 15 at the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.

The GLAAD Media Awards recognize and honor mainstream media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives.

At the ceremony, Jake Gyllenhaal presented Jennifer Aniston with GLAAD’s Vanguard Award, honoring media professionals who, through their work, have increased the visibility and understanding of the LGBT community. Gyllenhaal and Aniston became friends while filming “The Good Girl.”

“I want to thank GLAAD for their steadfast commitment to opening people’s minds,” Aniston said in her acceptance speech. “This is called the Vanguard Award, which in some ways suggests I’m at the forefront. But I’m here with you tonight to say that I’m proud to stand not in front of you, but I stand right beside you. I commend you.”

Also at the event, Lance Bass presented the Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Martina Navratilova. The two met after Navratilova wrote a letter to People magazine praising Bass’ coming-out interview. The Stephen F. Kolzak Award is presented to an openly LGBT media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equal rights for the LGBT community.

“I want to thank the people at GLAAD for doing such amazing work over the years, especially now,” Navratilova said while accepting her award. “Because we really need to define ourselves. We cannot let the Rick Santorums, Rush Limbaughs and the Ann Coulters of the world define who we are. We need to do that ourselves…get in the game.”

“Grey’s Anatomy” co-star T.R. Knight opened the show. Welcoming the crowd Knight said, “I am angry at the inequality we face every day. I hope to turn my anger into action. One of my actions is to be here to celebrate GLAAD’s work — its work to teach and promote inclusion.”

In remarks at the event, GLAAD President Neil Giuliano emphasized the importance of GLAAD’s work. “From the slurs of Ann Coulter and General Pace, to the lies and misrepresentations of James Dobson in Time magazine, and in many other situations, GLAAD is turning a bright spotlight on the defamation that still exists today,” Giuliano said. “We’re ensuring that it does not and will not go unchallenged. And in so doing, we’re educating millions who we need to support our full equality.”

For the third consecutive year, the GLAAD Media Awards were televised on Logo, MTV Networks’ cable channel for LGBT viewers and their allies. The Logo airdate for the 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards was April 21, with subsequent airings following.

GLAAD award winners

• Vanguard Award: Jennifer Aniston (presented by Jake Gyllenhaal)

• Stephen F. Kolzak Award: Martina Navratilova (presented by Lance Bass)

• Film – Wide Release: “Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight Pictures) [Accepted by: Michael Arndt, writer of “Little Miss Sunshine”]

• Outstanding Drama Series: “Brothers & Sisters” (ABC) [Accepted by: Executive Producer Jon Robin Baitz and Matthew Rhys, with Dave Annable, Balthazar Getty, Rachel Giffiths, Ron Rifkin and Patricia Wettig]

• Outstanding Comedy Series: “Ugly Betty” (ABC) [Accepted by: Executive Producer Silvio Horta and Michael Urie, with Alan Dale, Mark Indelicato, Judith Light, Eric Mabius, Becki Newton, Ana Ortiz, and Rebecca Romijn]

• Outstanding Individual Episode: “Where the Boys Are” “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) [Accepted by: episode writer Mark Wilding, with T.R. Knight, Sara Ramirez, Kate Walsh and episode guest star Alexandra Billings]

• Outstanding Spanish-Language Newspaper Overall Coverage: La Opinión [Los Angeles] [Accepted by: Wilson Cruz and Eduardo Xol on behalf of La Opinión]

• Special Recognition: “The Colbert Report”

Openly gay comedian Alec Mapa entertained the over 2,000 guests in the Kodak Theatre. Other guests and presenters at the event included Katherine Heigl; Jason Lewis; Jerry O’Connell; Jamie Bamber; Laurel Holloman, Marlee Matlin, Rachel Shelley (“The L Word”); Andrea Bowen, Joy Lauren, Shawn Pyfrom (“Desperate Housewives”); Oscar Nunez; Cobie Smulders; Loni Anderson; Gabrielle Christian, Mandy Musgrave, Matt Cohen, Maeve Quinlan, Chris Hunter, Valery Ortiz (“South of Nowhere”); Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley, Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”); Rex Lee; Jesse Brune; Wilson Cruz; Dave Koz; Derek Arteta, Carey Sherrell, Kristine Lefebvre (“The Apprentice: Los Angeles”); Alexandra Billings; J.P. Calderon; Kim Coles; Scotch Loring Ellis; Tyler Duckworth; Ben Patrick Johnson; Dave Kopay; Reichen Lehmkuhl; Derek Magyar, Darryl Stephens, Jonathan Trent (“Boy Culture”); Dayanara Torres; Tony Tripoli; Nathan Hale Williams; Eduardo Xol; Michael Arndt; and former NBA player John Amaechi.

More than 100 corporate sponsors are showing their support, including Founding Sponsor Absolut Vodka, which is returning to the GLAAD Media Awards for the 18th consecutive year. GLAAD is also grateful to the event’s Platinum Underwriter Sponsors IBM and Time Warner. Allstate Insurance Company, American Airlines, Atlantis Events, Bud Light, Coors Brewing Company, Harrah’s Foundation, Hilton Hotels Corporation, Lehman Brothers, Motorola, Olivia Companies, Starbucks Coffee Company and Wells Fargo support the GLAAD Media Awards as Underwriter Sponsors. 

Nominees were published, released or broadcast between Jan. 1, 2006 and Dec. 31, 2006. Nearly 1,000 media projects were considered in 26 English-language and 16 Spanish-language categories.

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