Garry Marshall got laughs, Rosie O’Donnell scored a coup, Kevin McKidd warmed audience hearts and significant, meaningful work was honored at the 14th Annual Prism Awards in Beverly Hills the other night. The event highlighted films and television shows that accurately depict and bring attention to substance abuse and mental health issues – and although there were somber moments, a celebratory mood prevailed.
Introducing the category of Performance in a Comedy Series with his long-time pal and movie good luck charm, Hector Elizondo,” Marshall quickly dispensed with his scripted lines, informing the audience that there was no band, but “there’s a guy with a harmonica backstage to play you off if you go too long.” (“The cue card guy is going crazy,” he observed.) Marshall mentioned, among other things, that he and Elizondo play softball together in a show business league — seniors division. “If you hit a double, they let you take a nap. If you score a home run, you get free Lipitor.”
Elizondo and Tony Shalhoub won the Prism Award comedy series performance category for their work in the much-missed “Monk,” in which Elizondo played the therapist for Obsessive Compusive detective Adrian Monk.
Rosie O’Donnell won Prism honors for her performance in Lifetime’s “America” — out of a field including Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Lange, Kimberly Elise and Drew Barrymore – in the category of Performance in a TV Movie or Miniseries. She played a therapist in the poignant movie about a teenager caught in the foster care system.
McKidd’s portrayal a doctor fraught with post traumatic stress syndrome due to his tour of duty in Iraq on “Grey’s Anatomy” won the Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline. He admitted to having been insecure over whether he could pull off the demands of the role when Shonda Rhimes first talked to him about it, and subsequently dove into researching PTS by reading and talking to veterans. He thanked Rhimes and his leading lady Sandra Oh, ABC and his wife for making it all possible.
Among other highlights of the evening was a reunion of ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ stars Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, and the inauguration of the Adam ‘DJ AM’ Goldstein Recovery Advocacy Award, presented in his memory to his mother. Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Timothy Hutton and Dr. Phil were also among the honorees at the event, produced by the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in collaboration with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and FX. Look for The Prism Awards to be shown as an upcoming television special on FX.