BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Winners of the 25th Annual Imagen Awards, honoring positive portrayals of Latinos and Latino culture in entertainment, were announced at a star-studded luncheon ceremony held in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The awards were handed out in front of an audience of approximately five hundred attendees representing the entertainment industry and Latino community. Among celebrities in attendance were Edward James Olmos, America Ferrera, Luis Avalos, Jon Seda, Maria Canals Barrera, Lupe Ontiveros, Oscar Nuñez, Michael DeLorenzo, Danny Pino, Nestor Carbonell, Cesar Millan and Nestor Serrano, among others. Also in attendance was U.S. Secretary of Labor and former local congresswoman, Hilda Solis.
Helen Hernandez, president of The Imagen Foundation, said: "These past 25 years have shown significant progress in the inclusion of Latinos at all levels of the entertainment industry - both in front of and behind the camera. My hope is that the next level of progress will only take a few years. However, our work is far from over given the sheer numbers of our population as well as our buying power. We owe a deep gratitude to those companies who have seen the importance and value in sponsoring the Imagen Awards and, to them we say, 'Mil gracias.'"
As part of the silver anniversary celebration, special Founder's Awards were presented to those who were responsible for the concept and eventual creation of the Imagen Awards: television pioneer Norman Lear, corporate entity The Gas Company, and non-profit The California Conference for Equality and Justice. Said Norman Lear, "Honoring the contributions of Latinos at the cultural trough we all drink from could not be more important at this time."
Added Margaux Kohut, President of The California Conference for Equality and Justice: "California Conference for Equality and Justice is deeply honored to receive this award on behalf of the former National Conference of Christians and Jews and the late Robert M. Jones, former Executive Director of NCCJ and one of the visionaries who established the Imagen Awards. The Imagen Awards have raised the social conscience of electronic media and that of the entire entertainment industry around all forms of bias and inclusion, as well as their responsibility in using their sphere of influence to portray people of all backgrounds in a positive light."
"We are proud to receive the Imagen Founder's Award. It's especially meaningful to me, our company and employees in that it acknowledges the work of a visionary leader and co-founder of Imagen, a gentleman who once served as our President and Chairman, Bob McIntyre," said Anne Shen Smith, COO of The Gas Company. "Our company is committed to a work environment where diversity is a priority and each employee can reach their full potential. That's why we're happy to partner with Imagen to help encourage and acknowledge the achievements of Latinos in our community."
Winners were selected in 18 different categories from film, television and the internet, and judged by an independent panel of entertainment industry executives and Latino community leaders. In addition to winners in the various categories, producer/director/writer Peter Bratt ("La MISSION") received this year's honorary Norman Lear Writer's Award, named for the veteran television producer and Imagen co-founder.
Following are the winners for this year's Imagen Awards in their respective categories:
Best Primetime Television Program or Movie-of-the-Week: Cold Case (CBS); Best Actor/ Television: Danny Pino, Cold Case (CBS);Best Actress/Television: America Ferrera, Ugly Betty (ABC); Best Supporting Actor/Television: Kevin Alejandro, Southland (TNT); Best Supporting Actress/Television: Maria Canals Barrera, Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie (Disney Channel); Best Childrenï¿½s Programming: Handy Manny (Disney Channel); Best Documentary/Television: Which Way Home (HBO); Best National Informational Program: CNN Presents: Latino in America (CNN);Best Local Informational Program: Vista L.A. (KABC); Best On-Air Advertising: Hispanic Heritage Month ï¿½ Tito Puente (MTV); Best Variety or Reality Show: Quiero Mi Boda (MTV); Best Feature Film:La MISSION (5 Stick Films); Best Actor/Feature Film: Benjamin Bratt, La MISSION (5 Stick Films); Best Actress/Feature Film: Ana de la Reguera, Backyard (Maya Entertainment); Best Supporting Actor/Feature Film: Jeremy Ray Valdez, La MISSION (5 Stick Films);Best Supporting Actress/Feature Film: Dominik Garcia-Lorido, City Island (Anchor Bay Films); Best Director/Feature Film: Kenny Ortega, This Is It (Columbia Pictures); Best Theatrical Short or Student Film: Taught To Hate (Mi Ecuador Prods.); Best Internet Program: YLSE (Livier Prods.).