Lin-Manuel Miranda and Family Honored at Imagen Awards

Imagen Foundation
Lin-Manuel Miranda and family

Norman Lear’s ‘One Day at a Time’ was the big winner of the night in the standard categories

On the third night of The Mirandas Take Hollywood, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family went to the Beverly Wilshire to collectively receive the President’s Award at the 32nd annual Imagen Awards.

At this point, the history-making Hamilton creator needs no introduction, but the other Mirandas are also impressive difference-makers in their own right. Patriarch Luis A. Miranda Jr. has been a fixture of the New York City political scene for decades, serving in three mayoral administrations and currently as managing partner of the political consultancy The MirRam Group, while matriarch Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda is a clinical psychologist who serves on the New York State Board of Psychology as well as on the national board of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“If your mother is a psychologist and your dad is in politics, you write Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel joked Friday night while accepting the award on behalf of his clan, which also includes sister Luz Miranda-Crespo, who oversees the various family enterprises as chief financial officer.

Perhaps in a nod to the guest of honor, musical theater was the theme of this year’s awards ceremony, which celebrates Latinos in entertainment. Four-time host Aida Rodriguez opened the show with an “All That Jazz” song-and-dance number from Chicago, while the show's other live performances were “Out Here on My Own” from the movie musical Fame and “Maria”/”Tonight” from West Side Story. Hamilton’s own “Alexander Hamilton” served as the basis for tribute song “The Miranda Family,” performed by High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu, who made his Broadway debut in 2010 as a replacement for Miranda’s protagonist character in his first musical, In the Heights.

For America Ferrera, who presented the Mirandas their award, watching In the Heights was a profoundly emotional experience. “My heart soaring to hear our music, to watch our faces, to see our story, a Latino story, on the Broadway stage,” she recalled in her introductory remarks. “I knew immediately I was witnessing a revolution. … We’ve all probably asked ourselves, where does genius like that come from? His talents are no doubt God-given but his heart, his soul, his passion, his choice to celebrate life and bring us all along for the ride, can only be understood by knowing his family.”

In other categories, Netflix’s remake of Norman Lear’s One Day at a Time swept the night, winning best primetime TV comedy, TV actress (Justina Machado), young TV actor (Marcel Ruiz) and TV supporting actress (Isabella Gomez, who beat out her TV abuela, Rita Moreno, in the category). Other major awards went to USA’s Queen of the South for best TV drama and Rogue One’s Diego Luna for best film actor. The Sundance politically themed dramedy Beatriz at Dinner earned best director honors for Miguel Arteta, but lost out on best picture to Eugenio Derbez’s broad comedy How to Be a Latin Lover. Salma Hayek was nominated twice for best film actress for both movies and won for the latter.

At last year’s Imagen Awards, held two months before the presidential election, political talk dominated the night, given that Mexican and other Latino immigrants were the earliest targets of Donald Trump’s campaign. But on Friday night, there were few references to the fact that the U.S. is now living in what many of the award show’s attendees would consider the darkest timeline. Of the few nods to the president, presenter Kenny Ortega’s was the most pointed: “Mr. Lear, congratulations on receiving the Kennedy Center honor this year,” he said to the One Day at a Time executive producer, who helped establish the Imagen Foundation in 1984. “And I’m sure many people here would also like to thank you for declining the invitation to join the president at the White House.” The remark drew a standing ovation from the audience.