New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) has recently announced the honorees for their 43rd annual NYWIFT Muse Awards. The event is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating women’s outstanding vision and accomplishments in film, television, music, and digital media, both behind and in front of the camera. The awards ceremony will be held on March 28, 2023.
According to the press release, this year’s winners of the MUSE Award are esteemed figures such as Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films, Sandra Lee, an Emmy-winning TV host, Sharon Stone, an Oscar-nominated actress, Freida Pinto, a BAFTA-nominated actress, and Janet Yang, the AMPAS President. Additionally, Danielle Brooke, known for her role in “Orange is the New Black,” will receive the “Made in NY” Award, presented by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Deborah Chow, the director of “The Mandalorian,” will receive the Nancy Malone Directing Award, while Maria Hinojosa, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, will receive the inaugural Enid Roth Award for Excellence in Journalism. Finally, Lauren Ridloff, a Tony Award-nominated actress, will receive the Loreen Arbus Changemaker Award.
Cynthia Lopez, the CEO of NYWIFT, expressed her excitement to host the 43rd Muse Awards ceremony in person after the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the industry and the world. Lopez also mentioned that it’s an excellent way to celebrate Women’s History Month while honoring the remarkable women who are transforming media creation. These women are making significant contributions behind and in front of the camera, in newsrooms, and executive suites. They fight for representation of women, BIPOC communities, and disabled individuals, as well as advocate for body positivity, safety on sets, and more. Their content has entertained and informed millions and has been an economic engine in worldwide markets. The party promises to be a fantastic celebration with corporate partners such as fashion icon David Yurman and others. The NYWIFT community is excited to come together to recognize the achievements of women in media.
NYWIFT, founded in 1977, has previously awarded MUSE Awards to outstanding women in the industry, such as Sandra Oh, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and America Ferrera.
Arianna Bocco has more than three decades of leadership experience in the independent film industry. As the President of IFC Films, Bocco is responsible for overseeing film acquisition, business and distribution strategies for AMC Networks’ film portfolio, which includes IFC Films, a major distributor of independent films in the US, as well as Shudder, a premium streaming service that focuses on horror, thrillers, and supernatural content, RLJE Films, and the subscription service IFC Films Unlimited. Bocco’s leadership has resulted in the company’s brands being consistently recognized for their exceptional taste, support of diverse first-time directors, and impressive library of critically acclaimed and award-winning films.
Danielle Brooks is a celebrated actress and singer who has won several awards for her outstanding performances. She most recently appeared in the Broadway play THE PIANO LESSON by August Wilson, which won the Pulitzer Prize. In the play, she acted alongside Samuel L. Jackson and John David Washington and was directed by LaTanya Richardson Jackson. Brooks has also completed filming for the Warner Bros. feature film adaption of THE COLOR PURPLE, which is set to be released in December 2023. The Broadway musical had previously earned her a Tony nomination, and she will once again play the iconic role of “Sofia.” Additionally, Brooks can be seen in the HBO Max spinoff series PEACEMAKER, directed by James Gunn. She is a graduate of The Juilliard School and co-founded “Black Women on Broadway.”
Deborah Chow is a prominent filmmaker of Chinese-Australian origin who has a prolific career in both film and television. She gained widespread recognition for directing the limited series “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which was nominated for a DGA, PGA, and several other awards, and won a Saturn award. Chow has also directed two episodes of the first season of “The Mandalorian” and helmed episodes of several other popular shows such as “Mr. Robot,” “Jessica Jones,” and “American Gods.” Her remarkable work on “Better Call Saul” earned her a NAACP Image Award, and she was recently awarded the DGC Visionary award.
Maria Hinojosa founded Futuro Media in 2010, a nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC that aims to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. She currently serves as the Anchor and Executive Producer of Latino USA, a Peabody Award-winning show celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023, and Co-Host of the political podcast In The Thick. Hinojosa also recently won a Pulitzer Prize for her podcast Suave. With her new Latina-led investigative journalism unit, Hinojosa seeks to challenge newsrooms worldwide through their flagship bilingual podcast USA v. García Luna. Through her work, Hinojosa has informed millions about the evolving cultural and political landscape in America and abroad.
Sandra Lee is a renowned advocate, philanthropist, and home life expert who has won several Gracie and Emmy® Awards. She has written 27 best-selling books and is the Editor in Chief of Sandra Lee Magazine and Sandralee.com. Sandra has hosted and created several popular television programs aired on ABC, NBC, FOX, Food Network, HGTV, Discovery Family, and Cooking Channels in 63 countries worldwide. Throughout her career, Sandra has worked passionately for causes close to her heart and has been honored with several prestigious awards, including the President’s Volunteer Service Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Medal of Honor, the Albert Einstein Award of Excellence, and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Sandra is a founding board member of UNICEF®’s Los Angeles chapter and was appointed UNICEF’s Nutrition Emissary in 2015. For ten years, she served as the national spokesperson for the No Kid Hungry campaign and is a dedicated family member to God’s Love We Deliver/Project Angel Food and the Elton John’s AIDS Foundation. Sandra publicly documented her journey through early-stage cancer and allowed unrestricted filming access, which was captured in the HBO documentary short RX: Early Detection: A Cancer Journey with Sandra Lee. Her decision to share her story was inspired by her desire to educate others on taking an active role in their healthcare, provide caregivers with insight and tools for patient care and medical advocacy, and influence lawmakers to pass legislation that provides no-cost insurance coverage and increased hours for screening accessibility. Sandra’s open and uncensored communication about her journey has been recognized with several prestigious honors, including Capitol Hill’s Congressional Families Excellence in Cancer Awareness Award, City of Hope’s Spirit of Life Award, and The Creative Coalition’s Television Industry Advocacy Award.
Freida Pinto is an actress, activist, and producer who has received a BAFTA nomination for her work. She has appeared in highly acclaimed films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Trishna, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes, as well as recent movies including Hillbilly Elegy, Intrusion, and Mr. Malcolm’s List. Her next project, My Mother’s Wedding, is directed by Kristen Scott Thomas and features a star-studded cast including Scarlett Johansson, Sienna Miller, Emily Beecham, and Kristen Scott Thomas herself. Through her production company Freebird Films, Freida is producing and starring in upcoming adaptations of bestsellers Both/And by Huma Abedin and The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi, in partnership with Entertainment One and Netflix, respectively. Additionally, Freida has dedicated over eight years to working with Girl Rising, a nonprofit that uses storytelling to advocate for girls’ education and empowerment.
Lauren Ridloff’s journey to stardom began only five years ago when she transitioned from being a kindergarten teacher in Manhattan and winning the title of Miss Deaf America. She was approached in 2016 to tutor director Kenny Leon in American Sign Language for the Broadway revival of Children of A Lesser God. After working together for months, Kenny and the producers decided that Lauren was the perfect fit for the lead role, and she delivered a remarkable performance that earned her a Tony nomination and glowing reviews from The New York Times. Since then, she has become a series regular on the popular AMC show “The Walking Dead” and played the first deaf superhero in Marvel’s blockbuster hit “Eternals,” alongside Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani. Next, Lauren will be executive producing and starring opposite Joshua Jackson in a Starz series produced by Ava DuVernay. Her impressive work has been recognized with a 2020 BAFTA Breakthrough award, which honors up-and-coming stars in film and television.
Sharon Stone is a versatile actress, author, artist, and humanitarian, renowned worldwide for her exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry. She received widespread recognition for her iconic roles in acclaimed films like Basic Instinct and Casino, which earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 1996 and an Academy Award nomination for her leading performance alongside Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s crime drama. Stone’s remarkable talent has garnered her two more Golden Globe nominations for The Mighty (1998) and The Muse (1999), in addition to several other film credits like Sliver (1993), The Specialist (1994), and Broken Flowers (2005), to name a few. She has also been recognized for her work on television, including her Emmy-winning guest appearance on The Practice (2004), and roles in limited series such as HBO’s Mosaic (2017), Netflix’s Ratched (2020), and The New Pope (2019). Sharon’s contributions to humanitarian causes have earned her several prestigious awards, including the Nobel Peace Summit Award, a Harvard Humanitarian Award, and a Human Rights Campaign Humanitarian Award, among others. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her three sons and has recently showcased her artwork in her first painting show at ALLOUCHE galleries.
Janet Yang is a highly acclaimed Hollywood producer, recognized for her remarkable work in the film and television industry. She has received numerous awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and currently serves as the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Her extensive credits as a producer include the critically acclaimed films The Joy Luck Club, The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Weight of Water, Shanghai Calling, High Crimes, Zero Effect, and the Academy Award-nominated animated feature Over the Moon. In the early days of her career, Yang ran the first distribution company to bring Chinese films to North America and played a crucial role in reintroducing American studio films to the Chinese marketplace. Her partnership with renowned writer/director Oliver Stone has resulted in several successful projects. Yang has been listed as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood.”
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