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The New York Film And Television Muse Awards Celebrate Women Using Art for Advocacy

Today, despite a pandemic and a snowstorm, New York Women in Film & Television will present their annual Muse awards remotely to an amazing slate of NY Women. Rashida Jones, Alana Mayo, Ali Stroker, Rachel Brosnahan, Awkwafina, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Jodi Kantor, and Megan Twohey. This year’s honors reflect the theme “Art & Advocacy, as NYWIFT recognizes the role of the creative community in advancing positive social change.”

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The Mary Sue got to chat with NYWIFT’s Executive Director Cynthia Lopez about what these awards mean this year and some of the amazing women across the industry who will be honored. This is the 41st year that NYWFT has honored New York women in the industry but it’s also a year like no other, so Lopez explained how things have had to change and adapt for 2020.

It will be obviously our first time where the muse awards will go virtual. What’s exciting to us is that this tradition of having a holiday luncheon in person during December started 41 years ago when women were not being recognized in the way that we felt that they needed to be recognized for their talents and contributions to the media and entertainment industry. So to be 41 years late still doing that … during the holiday season and during a pandemic is not only exciting but very inspiring.

And the pandemic actually means that this event, which had always been an in-person luncheon before will now be available to anyone to stream for a pay-what-you-can price at

The slate of honorees this year is incredibly inclusive and includes women who work in front of the camera as well as behind it and all in a way that’s created important art and change. “Art plus advocacy equals social change,” Lopez explained. “Whether it’s a television executive that green light movies out of the studio, like Alana Mayo, to an actress, like Rachel or Rashida to someone who is a director like Gina at all levels of the media and entertainment industry, we are excited about the change that we see happening as women filmmakers get to tell their stories.”

And in the case of Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, journalists. The two women who broke the Harvey Weinstein story have not only changed the industry, they helped start a movement that continues to change America. “The through-line with all of these journalists [that we’ve celebrated in the past] has been how they set a path forward with their meticulous and creative investigation, as well as their grace in being able to follow a story.” But for Kantor and Twohey, they did even more than that and sparked a conversation and movement that continues to change the industry.

But we’re still excited to see these amazing women get the honor they deserve, and be celebrated for their incredible work.

You can read more about the honorees and the awards, as well as watch the ceremony today at 1:00 Eastern at

(images: New York Women in Film and Television)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.