Variety Wins Nine First-Place Honors at L.A. Press Club’s SoCal Journalism Awards

Variety won nine first-place SoCal Journalism Awards from the Los Angeles Press Club Saturday night, including an entertainment journalist of the year honor for film critic Owen Gleiberman, repeating his win in that top category from two years ago.

A double winner, Gleiberman also picked up a first-place prize for film criticism at the LAPC ceremony, which returned to its longtime Millennium Biltmore Hotel Crystal Ballroom location — with a fully vaccinated audience — after taking place as an online event last year.

Others claiming first-place trophies for their Variety work included Matt Donnelly, Jennifer Dorn, Sophy Holland, Angelique Jackson, Tucker Morrison, Preston Northrup, Ramin Setoodeh, Elizabeth Wagmeister, Chris Willman and Meredith Woerner.

Of Gleiberman’s win for entertainment journalist, the judges said, “Owen Gleiberman’s perceptive movie reviews, coupled with his profiles of filmmakers and actors such as the late Chadwick Bozeman and his insights on the pandemic’s effects on movie theaters, makes for compelling reading and understanding. Gleiberman is, indeed, the Entertainment Journalist of the Year.”

Singer-actress Janelle Monae was the subject of a Variety cover for a Power of Women package that earned a best portrait photo award for Variety photo director Jennifer Dorn and the image’s photographer, Sophy Holland. The judges described the cover image as “a brilliant reflection of a personality and a star, without a slightest hint of contrivance.”

The web team was represented by a win for deputy editor Meredith Woerner, supervising producer Preston Northrup and video producer and editor Tucker Morrison in the division rewarding entertainment news or feature videos over five minutes long for “How Ludwig Goransson Created ‘The Mandalorian’s’ Iconic Opening Howl.” Wrote the judges, “The creative, collaborative process of creating film music is beautifully conveyed in this excellent piece.”

Senior entertainment writer Angelique Jackson scored a first-place trophy for her article “Man of Action: Tyler Perry on Producing During the Pandemic and why He’s Weighing In on Politics” in the film/TV personality profile category. The judges said: “‘Man of Action’ is a work of art — well written and informative throughout. The multiple sources cited grows the audience’s interest, but does not distract from the main story line. Well-formed for a compelling story that reads like a novella.”

Pandemic reporting also figured into the win by senior entertainment and media writer Matt Donnelly in the TV/film online news feature category for his article “A Day on a Film Set in the Time of Coronavirus.” Said the judges, “Reading these submissions felt like opening a time-capsule from ten years ago. But the submission from Matt Donnelly of Variety, ‘A Day on a Film Set in the Time of Coronavirus,’ stood out as a snapshot that still felt new and fresh months later. The ability to describe the minute details of such a chaotic time was a triumph in access and attentive reporting.”

Executive editor Ramin Setoodeh won in the online lifestyle feature category for his article “Barneys, Fabulous Department Store for Movie Stars, Closes at 97.” “When something is deeply felt, researched and experienced, the writing shines and compels the reader to experience it,” the judges wrote. “This is what lifestyle writing should be.”

Senior correspondent Elizabeth Wagmeister picked up a trophy for “Six Strangers Testified Against Harvey Weinstein, Now They’re Bonded for Life” in the entertainment news or feature category/print magazines category. The judges said it was a “powerful story about a brave woman and the hardships she faced after one of the country’s most provocative scandals.”

Features editor Chris Willman was a winner in the humor/satire writing category for his critical roundup of “The 100 Worst Songs of 2020.” Judges called the piece “a creative, detailed look at the dirty dozen ditties of 2020, with special focus on Van Morrison’s anti-masking, anti-lockdown ear fails.”

Additionally, Variety picked up 13 second-prize awards and 13 third-place honors at the event, bringing the overall tally of honors for the night to a total of 35, the most for any entertainment publication.

The full list of SoCal Journalism Awards winners, along with the judges’ commentary on the top finishers, can be found at the L.A. Press Club’s site here.

The rollout of the awards to journalists who work for L.A.-based publications was interspersed with the Press Club giving special honors to veteran print or broadcast personalities or celebrities who’ve worked closely with the media on important initiatives. Longtime ABC7 Eyewitness News anchor Marc Brown was the recipient of the Joseph M. Quinn Award, introduced by colleague and frequent LAPC host George Pennacchio. The President’s Award went to CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Bari Weiss, the former New York Times opinion editor who left the newspaper after clashing with other staffers, accepted the Daniel Pearl Award for courage and integrity in journalism. Sean Penn and Ann Lee won a Public Service Award for their work with Core, introduced by L.A. fire chief Ralph M. Terrazas.

The Los Angeles Press Club has just announced a date for its other annual awards ceremony, the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, set to take place at the Biltmore on Feb. 5, 2022.

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