Jane Lynch feted on opening night of Outfest: “This festival keeps that spirit of filmmaking alive.”
Jane Lynch had quite an extraordinary day on Thursday.
She woke up to the news that she had received not one, but two Emmy nominations. One was for her role as Sue Sylvester on Glee and the other for a guest spot on Two and a Half Men.
Not sure what Jane did to celebrate but I do know that she did some interviews then made her way to Burbank in the afternoon for an appearance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. From there, it was a trip to downtown Los Angeles and the Orpheum Theater where she was presented with a life achievement award.
I was in the second row of the theater last night and snapped some photos (the theater was dark and so are the pics!) and I have to tell you, I don’t remember a life achievement winner ever getting such an ovation and I’ve been attending these things for about a decade.
Adding to the fun of the event was that Jane’s award was presented buy director Paris Barclay and Glee star Chris Colfer, both close friends of the honoree, both openly gay, and both nominated for Emmys Thursday.
Said Chris: “Tonight is all about Jane ….I must admit, she’s a breath of fresh air in a very, very polluted city. In just one year, Jane has made television history by turning the role of Sue Sylvester into an icon and was nominated for an Emmy for it just this morning. If you ask her about all of her accomplishments and achievements, she will tell you about meeting her wife or, humbly, give the credit for her success to somebody else.”
He added: “I remember the first I met Jane, it was when we were doing the pilot for Glee and I introduced myself and then I awkwardly sat next to her for four-and-a-half hours and stared at her. And rather than shooing me off, she friended me. Everything she does is absolutely genius and we love her even more her honesty. She’s been a tough and tireless advocate for equal rights for LGBT folk. Jane embodies the positivity that only can come from being yourself. I’m so proud call her a role model, a mentor, the cool aunt of our Glee family, a spiritual leader and a friend.”
Paris Barclay summed it up nicely when he said: “Let’s face it, the bitch is talented.”
He added: “She’s brilliant. She is actually a phenomenon. And I don’t know if you know this but she’s widely rumored to be a lesbian. Over her over two decades of work, Jane has built one of the best resumes and reputations in Hollywood. She’s one of the hardest working actors in our business and one of the easiest to work with. It’s a widely known fact that if you’ve ever worked with Jane, you end up coming off better. That includes the directors and all the fellow actors she works with. It’s Steve Carell, it’s Charlie Sheen, even Meryl Streep. They end up looking better for being in a scene with Jane. … She can be so funny, so snarky and in the end so moving.”
Her clip reel showed just how brilliant she is Lynch is added to a list of past honorees including Sir Ian McKellen, Gus Van Sant, Todd Haynes, and Bill Condon with scenes from 40 Year Old Virgin, Best of Show, Glee, Julie & Julia, Role Models and other films and television shows.
When she took the stage, Jane was true to form as she paid tribute to past honorees and said “I am humbled by the company I now keep.”
She then said to the adorable Chris Colfer: “I couldn’t be more proud of you. To have your name associated with yours is a great honor. You are grace and dignity personified and the entire world has just embraced you and who you are but no more than the courageous kids who now have a fashion-forward role model. … You’re just a bright light and it’s a lot to put on your young shoulders but I don’t worry about you because you have a wise old grandma that lives inside of you keeping your feet on the ground and making sure everyone has enough to eat.”
Jane shared a bit of how she chooses her projects: “I don’t choose a project because it’s gay or straight, I really only choose it because of the people I get to work with and what’s to eat. … Someone like Guy Shalem, who’s also a big mo, asks me to work with him, I don’t ask to see a script, mainly because I know it will be spotty and he will expect me to fill it in. But I work with him because he’s a brilliant director and no one can edit your work and hand you a performance the way he does and his short is called Shark Tank check it out.”
Jane may be a huge mainstream star now, but it doesn’t look like she will be forgetting her indie roots: “I’ve done quite a few shorts that have made their way to the festival, they were all done for fun and for free … I find the less money in the budget, the more fun the show and the word can do, the attitude. On these films that we do for Outfest, everybody pitches in and we all get the chance to get a crack at a job that we aspire to but we don’t have any experience in. … a character actor like me can finally be number one on the call sheet. There’s a let’s put out a show vibe that I just love and it’s what absolutely [drew] me to a life in the theater and now TV and film. I love being part of a group, part of a creative family if you will and this festival keeps that spirit of filmmaking alive. … We’ve got to support this festival … especially for the homos who live outside of LA to see their stories told.”
The actress also shared with the crowd some words of wisdom that she picked up years ago: “I get asked all the time for advice and I don’t know why anyone would think I know what I’m doing because my life and my career has just been one big happy accident after another. I’ve just gone headlong, balls out and fevered. Never coming up for air for a good bunch of years. I don’t know if this is good advice to give anyone, but I know there are a lot of aspiring actors out there and filmmakers and perhaps they want me to give them words of wisdom or the keys to the kingdom or let them in on a big secret so I will defer to the words of my personal hero Carol Brady who in her infinite wisdom said, ‘Find what it is you do best and do your best with it.”
What a woman. What a night!