Gotham Awards: Sandra Lee Tapped for Made in NY Award (Exclusive)

The Daytime Emmy-winning TV host, best-selling author and first lady of New York State produced this year's Oscar-eligible doc short 'Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee.'
Rich Fury/Getty Images for The Hollywood Reporter
Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee, the Daytime Emmy-winning TV host, best-selling author and first lady of the State of New York (Gov. Andrew Cuomo is her longtime boyfriend), has been tapped by the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment to receive the prestigious Made in NY Award at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, one of the first major gatherings of the film awards season, on Nov. 26. The presentation will occur at Cipriani Wall Street, where indie cinema's biggest names will also celebrate the 26th annual Gothams' nominees and other tribute recipients.

Previous Made in NY Award honorees include Spike Lee, Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep.

Lee, whose food and lifestyle series Semi-Homemade ran for 15 seasons and was filmed in New York City, has been in the news recently in connection with Rx: Early Detection, A Cancer Journey With Sandra Lee, an HBO documentary short that she produced about her battle with breast cancer. The 52-year-old was diagnosed with early stage cancer in 2015 and decided to chronicle her ensuing journey, allowing unrestricted camera access into her most private moments at home and in the hospital.

The film began rolling out on HBO on Oct. 8 and is now the subject of Oscar buzz.

"We are so pleased to honor Sandra Lee with the Made in NY award this year and to salute both her long career in television and her bravery in documenting her battle with cancer," MOME commissioner Julie Menin said in a statement. "Both her activism and her courageous film are saving lives while helping countless families deal with this insidious disease."

"I feel honored and blessed to be given the Made in NY award at this year's Gotham ceremony," Lee said in a statement. "New York City inspires me every day and is a gift to us all. I made my documentary short film to help anyone who is, has or will deal with a cancer diagnosis. My hope is that this recognition will fuel the flame of awareness for those diagnosed as well as their families so they may now have the tools and insights I did not."

Established in 2006, the Made in NY Award celebrates excellence in New York City's creative community, and recognizes the achievements of individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the city’s entertainment and digital media industries.

Its past recipients are Noah Baumbach, Joe Benincasa, Marcia Gay Harden, Kamaria Alvy Johnson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Matthew Miller and Tamara Tunie (2006); Kevin Breslin, Tina Fey, Warrington Hudlin, Jason Kliot, Joana Vicente and The New Victory Theatre (2007); Michelle Byrd, Robert Greenberg, Jesse L. Martin, Rachael Ray and Theatre for a New Audience (2008); Gerry Byrne, Edie Falco, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, Hungry Man and Sesame Street (2009); Lee Daniels, Angela Lansbury, As the World Turns, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, HSI Productions, Inc., Law & Order, Saturday Night Live and WFT Productions (2010); Matt Damon, John Leguizamo, Sidney Lumet, Lauren Zalaznick, Foursquare and Smuggler (2011); Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Anne Meara, Kelly Ripa, Jerry Stiller, Meryl Streep, Kickstarter and Radical Media (2012); Alan Cumming, Heidi Klum, Spike Lee, Audra McDonald, Sheila Nevins, Barbara Walters, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein and Tumblr (2013); Steve Buscemi, Neil Patrick Harris, Albert Maysles, Stanley Nelson, Rosie Perez, Jane Raab, Huge and Producers Guild of America (2014); Aziz Ansari and Judith Light (2016); and Alysia Reiner and Michael K. Williams (2017).