NHMC's 16th Annual Impact Awards Salute Latino Talent

The National Hispanic Media Coalition, NHMC, held its 16th Annual Impact Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, California. Over 450 Latino and media influentials gathered in the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel to commemorate the achievements of seven talented Latinos working in the entertainment industry.  The NHMC Impact Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the positive portrayal of Latinos in media.
 
This year's NHMC Impact Awards honored Michael Peña, Mario Lopez, Morena Baccarin, Gina Torres, Lana Parrilla and Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo.  Tony Hernandez received the inaugural Lupe Ontiveros Indomitable Spirit Award, in honor of the late actress and NHMC friend. 
 
"Every year we come together as a community -- a family, to commemorate the work of brilliant artists who are instrumental in the promotion of positive Latino images in media. NHMC is proud to recognize their outstanding contributions in the entertainment industry," stated Alex Nogales, NHMC President and CEO.
 
Previous NHMC Impact Award recipients Tony Plana and Aimee Garcia were Masters of Ceremony. The Title Sponsor for the evening was The Walt Disney Company/ABC Television Group and Diamond Sponsors were NBC Universal, Entravision and Univision Communications. 
 
About the Honorees
 
Michael Peña received the Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture award for his role as Officer Zavala in the critically acclaimed film End of Watch.  Peña was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for his performance as Offcer Zavala. He also earned notable recognition for his performance in Paul Haggis' provocative Oscar winning film Crash. Peña has worked on a range of films in the past year, including the independent film Everything Must Go; the dark comedy indie feature, The Good Doctor, and the action film Battle: Los Angeles.  Currently, Peña can be seen in the ensemble feature Gangster Squad and this fall he will be playing civil rights and labor organizer Cesar Chavez in the film Chavez directed by Diego Luna.

Mario Lopez was awarded Outstanding Media Entrepreneur for his extensive accomplishments in the media industry.  Lopez is the host of FOX's hit program X Factor, and the nationally syndicated daily show EXTRA.  He is the host of the nation wide radio show On with Mario Lopez on 104.3. Lopez is a New York Times bestselling author for his healthy eating guide Extra Lean.  Lopez also penned Mario Lopez's Knockout Fitness a bestselling fitness book, and Mud Tacos, a vibrant children's' book he co-authored with his sister Marissa.  As a follow up to Mud Tacos, Lopez released Mario & Baby Gia, a children's book he wrote for his daughter, Gia.  Mario and  his wife, Courtney Mazza, recently announced that they are expecting their second baby.

Acclaimed actress Morena Baccarin received the Outstanding Performance in a Television Series award for her performance in Showtime's Emmy award-winning series, Homeland;  The critically acclaimed series will pick up with its third season in the fall of 2013. Next up, Baccarin will star in Michael Rosenbaum's directorial debut comedy Old Day. The film is set for release in 2013. Baccarin was also cast as a series regular in Joss Whedon's critically acclaimed show, Firefly, as well as in its big-screen adaptation, Serenity. 

Gina Torres received the Outstanding Performance in a Television Series award for her role as Jessica Pearson on USA Network's hit original series Suits.  Torres will soon begin production on the third season of Suits as well as the anticipated NBC drama Hannibal starring opposite Laurence Fishburne, Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen. Included amongst Torres's most notable television credits are her performances as the Russo-Cuban assassin Anna Espinosa on Alias, and the shotgun-toting mercenary Zoe Washburn on Joss Whedon's Firefly. Torres's film credits include The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Jam, South of Pico, I Think I Love My Wife, Hair Show, Five Fingers and Don't Let Me Drown. 
  
Brooklyn-born actress Lana Parrilla received the Outstanding Performance in a Television Series award for her dual roles as the Evil Queen and Mayor Regina Mills in ABC's Once Upon a Time. The show's creators Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz presented the award to the actress. Early in her career, Parrilla made an appearance in the Steven Spielberg action pilot Semper Fi, before catching her first big break with a role as the feisty deputy mayoral assistant Angie Ordonez on the hit ABC comedy series Spin City opposite Charlie Sheen. Parrilla landed leading roles on critically acclaimed shows including Boomtown, 24,Swingtown and Miami Medical before landing Once Upon a Time.
 
Emmy Award winner John Leguizamo received the Outstanding Theatrical Performance award for his return to Broadway in his solo show Ghetto Klown. Leguizamo will be seen this summer in the anti-romantic comedy Fugly!, an autobiographical feature which he wrote, produced, and starred.  Later this year he will star in two highly anticipated films: Universal's Kick Ass 2 opposite Jim Carrey and Nicolas Cage, and The Counselor opposite Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, and Javier Bardem.  In 2012, Leguizamo reprised his role as the voice of Sid in IceAge 4: Continental Drift, which became the fifth highest grossing film of that year.  That same year, Leguizamo starred the Spanish language film El Paseo 2.  The film will premiere in the U.S. on HBO Latino this spring.  Leguizamo is currently developing his pilot for ABC, which he will also star in. This untitled comedy will center on his life as a husband, father and fish out of water living in the Gold Coast of New York.       

Tony Hernandez, co-founder and executive producer of the Immigrant Archive Project received the inaugural Lupe Ontiveros Indomitable Spirit Award.  The mission of the Immigrant Archive Project is to capture, archive and share the unique stories of immigrants of all nations living in the U.S. so that current and future generations may learn from their collective experience.  Hernandez is also the co-founder, President and CEO of Latino Broadcasting Company (LBC), a multimedia content provider specializing in Latino targeted programming. LBC produces, distributes and markets nationally syndicated radio and television programs.