The actor/comedian received the prestigious Harold Russell Award for his role as founder and creator of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
ESSC board member Nic Novicki was honored at the 2017 Media Access Awards, held November 17 at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Nic was presented with the prestigious SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award, primarily for his role creating the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
The film challenge addresses the underrepresentation of people with disabilities in the entertainment industry by empowering filmmakers, actors, and other creators–with and without disabilities–to take their careers into their own hands. The challenge gives them the platform to use creative storytelling, share their diverse perspectives on screen and gain the opportunity to network with Hollywood professionals.
Named after the first actor with a disability to receive an Oscar, the Harold Russell Award honors “a professional performer, writer, or other industry professional with a disability that has substantially contributed to the overall awareness of the disability experience through the media, thereby validating, strengthening, and enhancing the cultural heritage and pride of people with disabilities.”
About receiving the award, Nic said: “To be listed as a Harold Russell Award recipient among this group of talented individuals is a true honor. Not only have I grown up watching past winners on TV and film, I’ve also grown up looking up to them and their work as activists.”
As diversity and inclusion initiatives continue to gain traction in Hollywood, many award recipients noted that disability is often an overlooked part of the conversation.
“People with disabilities represent 20% of the population, but are represented in less than 1% of film and TV,” Nic said in his acceptance speech. He continued to explain that initiatives like the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge provide tangible opportunities to filmmakers that can help change these statistics.
Nic also noted that he felt right at home at the awards ceremony. “More than half the people in the room had either entered the Film Challenge, judged the films, mentored, and or promoted the Film Challenge in some way,” he said.
Several celebrities were in attendance, including actors Michael Keaton, Jason George, Jacob Tremblay, and writer/producer Norman Lear. Nic’s wife and parents also attended the ceremony, making it a very special day all around.
Variety did a great write up of the event – you can read about it here.
Join us in congratulating Nic on this tremendous recognition!