Lady Gaga. The cast of Glee. Dancing with the Stars.
These are some of the nominees for the 2012 Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards. The nominations, announced Thursday, also included picks for Spanish language categories.
Over the course of several weeks, the nomination process was carried out by more than 85 volunteers serving on seven nominating juries.
A total of 116 nominees were announced for 25 English-language categories, along with 35 nominees in 10 Spanish-language categories.
Categories in the 2012 GLAAD Media Awards include Outstanding Film: Wide Release (Albert Nobbs, Beginners, J. Edgar), Outstanding Reality Program (Dancing with the Stars, Girls Who like Boys Who Like Boys, The Glee Project, The Real L Word, The Voice) and Outstanding Music Artist (Lady Gaga, Girl in a Coma, Beverly McClellan, Hunx and His Punx, MEN).
Returning categories that were not featured in the 2011 Media Awards are Daily Drama (All My Children, Days of Our Lives) and Outstanding TV Movie or Mini-Series (Cinema Verite).
Each year, jurors evaluate media (which includes TV shows, films, talk show appearances, publications and columnists) based on a four points: fair, accurate and inclusive representations; boldness and originality; impact; overall quality.
On Thursday, IBTimes spoke with Rich Ferraro, Director of Communications of GLAAD. Here's what he had to say about this year's Media Awards and nominations process.
IBTimes: Are there any jurors or volunteers worth noting for this year's nomination process?
Rich Ferraro: The juries spend collectively thousands of hours reviewing materials and meeting to discuss, so I think it's hard for a celebrity to commit to a process like that. There are some journalists who are part of the process, as well as industry figures. The juries are predominately avid consumers of the respective categories -- people who are impacted by these media images.
IBT: How would you summarize the biggest change to the nomination selection in recent years? Obviously, more shows are featuring LGBT storylines, characters - as a result, is the nomination process more strict?
RF: There's been an improvement in the quantity, but the quality can still grow. Honoring groundbreaking LGBT stories each year sets the bar for the media industry to tell more in-depth stories and ones that reflect the diversity of the LGBT community. It's still rare that gay characters are people of color or to see a transgender character, but some of this year's nominees do an outstanding job of representing both of those communities.
IBT: What was the biggest surprise for this year's nominations, from a jury point of view?
RF: In the Reality Series category, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice were both nominated. These are hugely popular mainstream competition shows that the American public votes on -- and both featured LGBT contestants who were voted through several weeks. The popularity of the contestants speaks to the widespread support for LGBT people today.
IBT: According to your Nominee Selection mandate on the GLAAD Web site, it says that If no projects are deemed worth of nomination in a particular category, the jury may choose to not award that category. Were any categories shelved this year?
RF: This year all categories are listed. Last year, there were no nominees in the Daily Drama or in the TV movie category.
IBT: What remains a big challenge for the GLAAD Media Awards nomination process?
RF: Given the quantity of materials that we receive and review, the nomination process requires a really dedicated group of volunteers who we are very thankful for.
IBT: What are you looking forward to most at this year's awards?
RF: Hearing hip hop icon Russell Simmons speak out for LGBT equality or Ricky Martin speak about his partner last year touched not only people in the room, but around the world. Some of this year's nominees will surely lead to more inspiring moments where diverse celebrities and notables show their support for our community.
The 23rd annual GLAAD Media Awards will take place on Mar. 24 in New York, with additional ceremonies on Apr. 21 in Los Angeles and June 2 in San Francisco.
For a complete list of the nominations, visit the GLAAD Media Awards Web site.