Media Access Awards Recognizes Disability Representation on Screen

Film and television often portray deaf characters as “special” or the last person to know what’s going on, Millicent Simmonds said, but for her character in “A Quiet Place,” her “deafness saves the day.”

Simmonds made her observations before presenting the WGAW Evan Somers Memorial Award Thursday morning to the film’s scripters as part of the Media Access Awards, which annually honor those who employ people with disabilities and represent the disability experience on screen. The event, produced by Deborah Calla and Allen Rucker, was held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

The award went to John Krasinski (who also directed and starred), Scott Beck and Bryan Woods. “Millicent became the defining voice of ‘A Quiet Place,’” Beck said. “The wide experience that she brought gave her character in the film an authenticity that we could only be a small part of on the page, and so in many ways, we consider Millie to be the fourth writer of ‘A Quiet Place.’”

Krasinski, who accepted via videotape, fought to cast Simmonds, a deaf actress, to play a deaf character.

Sasha Alpert and Megan Sleeper received the Casting Society of America Award; Simon Cowell earned the Visionary Award; the CSA’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee accepted the SAG-AFTRA Disability Awareness Award; and Tatiana Lee won the Christopher Reeve Acting Scholarship.

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