The National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) will present its 12th Annual Impact Awards Gala on Friday, February 20th at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. The annual fete celebrates outstanding Latino performances and also recognizes outstanding service and commitment to the Latino community.
"We look forward to honoring those extraordinary individuals that represent the cultural richness and talent of our people, as well as recognizing those corporations who continue to demonstrate their commitment to the American Latino community," said Alex Nogales, President/CEO of NHMC. The annual black-tie event will once again attract the best and the brightest from throughout the entertainment industry.
This year's honorees include:
John Leguizamo: Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture. Born in Colombia, Leguizamo has proven that it is possible to be taken seriously both as a raunchy comic and a serious dramatic actor. The 1999 Emmy winner for "Freak," a semi-falsified, one-man stand-up performance as himself, currently stars in "Nothing Like the Holidays," directed by Alfredo De Villa. Very few Latino personalities have had such a powerful impact on critics and fans alike.
Rosario Dawson: Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture. A native New Yorker, Rosario is best known to her legions of fans for her work in such films as Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse" and Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of "Sin City." Dawson is being recognized for her work opposite Will Smith in "Seven Pounds," but her work in "Voto Latino" to empower the Latino community through voter registration and other community activism makers her a rare talent indeed.
Kenny Ortega: Outstanding Director for a Motion Picture. Born in Palo Alto, California the Emmy winning director/choreographer admits that his "first love" has always been the theatre. Mentored by the great Gene Kelly, Ortega has developed an astute understanding of what it takes to create and sustain entertaining, dramatic moments that continually exceed an audience's expectations as evidenced in his direction of the highly successful Disney movies, "High School Musical" and "High School Musical 2 and 3."
Impact Awards will also be presented to: Wilmer Valderrama, Outstanding Performance in a Television Series, for his work in voicing the title role on the hit Disney Channel animated series, "Handy Manny;" to award-winning actress, Lauren Velez, Outstanding Performance in a Television Series, for her convincing portrayal as Lt. Maria LaGuerta on the hit Showtime drama series, "Dexter;" to Emmy-nominated actor, Freddy Rodriguez, Outstanding Performance in a Motion Picture, for his role in "Nothing Like the Holidays" as youngest brother, Jesse. Rodriguez also co-executive produced the film. And an Impact Award for Outstanding Marketing in Film and Television will be presented to Santiago Pozo, CEO of Arenas, one of the leading Hispanic entertainment marketing companies and the Hispanic AOR for Paramount Pictures.