The 23rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles were a star-studded affair on Saturday (21 April) night with appearances by Ellen DeGeneres, Betty White, Benicio del Toro, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Josh Hutcherson.
But no star shined brighter than Cher who shocked the audience when she walked onto the stage at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel to present her son, Chaz Bono, with the Stephen F. Kolzak Award. [See related story].
The night's other big award recipient was 19-year-old Josh Hutcherson, one of the stars of the box office phenomenon The Hunger Games. Hutcherson received GLAAD's Vanguard Award for being one of the founders of the LGBT ally organization Straight But Not Narrow, a campaign working to positively impact the way teens view and treat their LGBT peers.
In accepting his award, Hutcherson spoke movingly of the influence his mother has had on his activism and of the two gay uncles he never knew who both died at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
'They are very much a part of me and everything that I believe in,' he said. 'Being honored with this award goes to them 100 percent and it goes to my family and everything they raised me to believe in.'
Prior to the start of the show, Hutcherson spoke with Gay Star News about being chosen to receive an award that in the past has gone to such icons as Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Whoopi Goldberg, Shirley MacLaine and Cher.
'I don't belong on that list I know that much,' he said modestly. 'It's incredible to be honored at all. But to be honored at this young age, I think is awesome. I think it's so important that young people are getting involved in organizations and trying to step up and make a change. It means a lot to me to honored with this.'
Bono returned to the stage later in the show with Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato to accept the outstanding documentary award for Becoming Chaz which chronicled his transition from female to male.
The film Beginners, which won Christopher Plummer the Academy Award for his performance as a gay man coming out late in life, won the award for outstanding wide release film.
In the television categories presented Saturday, Modern Family took home the GLAAD Award for the second year in a row. The Emmy winning show features gay couple Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) as two of its core characters.
'We're always being called revolutionary and groundbreaking and I really look forward to the day when that won't be the case and we'll actually just be kind of mundane and normal,' Ferguson said as he accepted the award.
The Lifetime network series Drop Dead Diva and the TV Land sitcom Hot in Cleveland tied in the category of outstanding individual episode of a TV series without a regular LGBT character.
Hot In Cleveland star Betty White, 90, said while accepting the award with co-stars Wendie Malick and Jane Leeves: 'When you see the four of us together, Valerie [Bertinelli], and Wendie and Jane and Betty, you'd swear we were all gay because we adore each other!'
DeGeneres opened the show with a comedy monologue and joked: 'Betty White is here! I didn't know you were gay. Welcome sister!'
She added on a serious note: 'I wanted to be here because I'm so proud of the work that GLAAD does, it does amazing work. With their help, we've made a lot of progress this year. Gay marriage is now legal in six states. … We're on TV more than ever, we're on commercials, we're in magazines, we're all over the media – and that's just my JC Penney campaign.'