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NEW YORK – Matt Damon, John Leguizamo, NBCUniversal Entertainment & Digital Networks and Integrated Media chairman Lauren Zalaznick, the late Sidney Lumet and location-based social network Foursquare were among those honored at the sixth annual Made In NY Awards ceremony here Monday night.
Among other things, the event at Gracie Mansion featured a Leguizamo joke about Rep. Anthony Weiner, speeches by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, and, ahead of this Sunday’s Tony Awards, a performance by members of last year’s Tony winner Memphis.
Leguizamo opened the ceremony by warming up the crowd with some jokes. Among other punch lines, he told the crowd that there would be no official photo lines for photos with Mayor Bloomberg. “If you want, I’ll tweet you some of Anthony Weiner’s stuff,” Leguizamo quipped. After a round of laughs, he added: “Relax, we are New Yorkers. Nothing shocks us anymore.”
The Made in NY awards go to people and institutions for “significant contributions” to the city’s entertainment and new media industries. Winners were previously announced.
Stacey Spikes, CEO of MoviePass, and production firm Smuggler, also got awards on Monday.
Lumet was posthumously honored with the first-ever Made in NY Mayor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement, with the award accepted by the director’s daughter, screenwriter Jenny Lumet. “I haven’t spoken about Dad in public yet,” she told the crowd in one of the evening’s emotional moments. “I miss him.”
Bloomberg introduced Damon to much applause, but told the crowd that he had taken time out of his busy schedule to shoot a scene for Damon’s The Adjustment Bureau. After smiling, waving and saying his lines, the mayor said he couldn’t wait for the DVD release – only to find out his scene was cut short.
“It turns out my whole scene is seven seconds,” he said to laughs. “So, if you were in the theater and the popcorn line was long,” people missed his big scene completely. Asking Damon to step up to the podium, Bloomberg quipped: “Matt, you got seven seconds!”
Damon thanked Bloomberg and Oliver for their commitment to the creative industries. “Thanks for bringing movies here so robustly,” he said.
Damon also recalled when he and his friend Ben Affleck, who grew up in Boston, would come to NY to audition on their own dime when they were younger. “Our dream was…to actually some day get a movie some day that shot in New York,” he said.
Now he has done a few films here and is raising his children here, Damon said in professing his love for the Big Apple. “I wish they were here tonight, but they are sleeping,” he said about his kids. “I’m just so proud to live here.”
The city officials also underlined the city’s entertainment strength.
“New York City is the entertainment capital of the world, the talent capital of the world and the media capital of the world, and tonight we honor some of those who help make that so,” said Bloomberg. “This year’s Made in NY honorees are New York City icons, including Sidney Lumet, who I was touched to speak with just before his passing in April, as well as entrepreneurs who have helped make New York City a pioneer in the entertainment industry.”
He and Oliver highlighted that the entertainment industry in the Big Apple represents over 100,000 jobs and brings in almost $5 billion annually to the city’s economy.
They also highlighted that last year more than 200 films and 30 TV series were shot in the city, and at least seven of 20 fall season pilots were picked up this year.
On the day that saw the kick-off of Internet Week New York, city officials also unveiled the Made in NY Digital Hall of Fame, a digital archive of past honorees featuring footage from New York City media shot over the last five years.
Introducing Zalaznick, Oliver lauded her as a “trendsetter,” and Bloomberg called her a “true trailblazer,” sharing with the crowd that the two women and he share the same Spanish instructor.
Zalaznick, who under NBCUniversal’s ownership by Comcast now also oversees Telemundo, said she was proud to have spent her entire media career in New York and ended her remarks with her latest display of her new Spanish skills. “Gracias and buenas noches,” she said.
Accepting his award, Leguizamo prepared the crowd for a long speech. “Latin people are not short-winded,” he quipped.
Email: Georg. Szalai@thr.com
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