December 4, 2019
Variety inducted five into its Hall of Fame Dec. 3 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
The awards, which began in the early days of video, now celebrate innovation in multiplatform entertainment. The event benefitted City Year.
Inductees included writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti; DreamWorks Animation president Margie Cohn; actor, writer, director and producer Bill Hader; Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix; and Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM of Microsoft digital stores business and category management.
Paramount Pictures futurist-in-residence Ted Schilowitz was honored with an Innovation Award.
Netflix’s Holland paid tribute to the first winner of the award, Jane Fonda.
“Jane carved a path that’s impossible for anyone to follow, but many of us have walked or worked out in her footsteps,” she said. “She continues to live a bold and daring life well into her 80s now — whether it’s on ‘Grace and Frankie’ [on Netflix] or Fire Drill Fridays [climate change protests] in Washington, D.C. She’s getting arrested every Friday.”
Holland thanked Fonda for her “kind words” in the video introduction, adding “I’m really proud to know her, and I’d like to be like her when I grow up.”
She also noted Fonda’s involvement in creating the video industry.
“Jane’s workout videos were a really important part of the home entertainment industry, where I spent a lot of my career,” Holland said. “In the early days it was the VHS boom. That was followed by DVD and Blu-ray and now streaming. While Jane was working out in the 80s, I could only dream of all the movies and television shows we now have access to in our homes and in our pockets. It’s been a real pleasure to be part of that change.”
She urged more recognition for women in the industry.
“I’m really motivated to ensure that women in this industry have the same opportunities to succeed and more importantly to take risks, to fail, to be better for it and still be recognized,” she said.
Microsoft’s Johnson-Marletti stressed the importance of studio partners.
“It’s not our code that customers like; it’s your content,” she said. “Thank you for a shared vision with us in bringing millions of Microsoft customers fantastic content.”
Hader, who works both behind and in front of the camera and is currently starring in HBO’s “Barry” and in Noelle on Disney+, recalled working as a production assistant and assistant editor in the industry before his breakout on “Saturday Night Live” — as well as growing up in Oklahoma.
“My grandfather used to say, ‘It’s so flat here that you can watch your dog run away for three days,’” he joked.
“So much has changed in this business since I started out, but certain things are more true than ever in this era of streaming wars or peak TV or post-streaming-war TV or whatever we’re calling it now,” said inductee Greg Berlanti in accepting his award. “I believe audiences will always want good stories, well-told, well-acted by diverse voices trying to make sense of the human experience.”
See photo gallery.