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Nic Novicki standing at a podium with the sign Media Access Awards

Nic Novicki: Creating Change from Within

Winner of the 2017 SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award, Media Access Awards

Nic Novicki standing at a podium with the sign Media Access Awards

Nic Novicki

Beverly Hills, Nov. 18 – When actor, comedian and producer Nic Novicki stepped up to the stage to accept his honor at the 2017 Media Access Awards, he clearly was humbled.

“It feels like an Oscar to me,” he said, after mentioning how happy he was to be surrounded by his wife and his parents that morning at the only Hollywood award ceremony that recognizes individuals who are inclusively showcasing the disability narrative. He explained the awards as “like the Oscars, but with more wheelchairs and sign language.”

Novicki was just one of just nine individuals honored Friday morning at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. He received the 2017 SAG-AFTRA Harold Russell Award in recognition of his talent and his work as an advocate for the disability community.

“We’re the largest minority group in the country,” Novicki said while accepting his award. “But yet we do not see ourselves represented. We’re in less than one percent of TV shows and movies. Five years ago, I was sick of those same statistics. And I decided I wanted to take action.”

Novicki is a little person and understands first hand how difficult it is for actors and actresses like him to find work in Hollywood.

Nic Novicki and Jamie Brewer standing at a podium with the sign Media Access Awards

Nic Novicki and Jamie Brewer

“My frustration that films, television programs and other entertainment don’t reflect the diversity of our world and limit actors in the roles they can play made me realize I needed to take action,” said Novicki in March. “I had gotten to the point where I was creating and producing my own content, but I knew there was more to be done.”

Therefore, Novicki started the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, an inclusive and competitive film contest that gives young filmmakers both with and without disabilities the chance to tell multifaceted stories that showcase disability. Ultimately the goal of the challenge is to change the traditional disability narrative to a narrative that is more representative of real life.

As an actor, Novicki has appeared in Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, AXS Gotham Comedy Live, Jack and Triumph, The Neighbors, Austin and Alley, Private Practice and Drop Dead Diva. As for movies, he has appeared in Life Happens, November Rule, The Last 5 Years, Boston Girls and Breaking Wind. Additionally, he has produced many feature films for large name companies such as Sony, CBS and Universal Studios.

This is the first time that Novicki has been honored by the Media Access Awards and he stands in good company. Previous winners of the Harold Russell Award include Danny Woodburn, Lauren Potter and Carrie Fisher. 

“I look out here and I see leaders. I see talented people. I see people with ambition, I see decision makers. And I see people that care,” Novicki said during his acceptance speech. “I want us together to continue to changing the way that people view and define disability and inspire change through the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge, through the Media Access Awards, through all these amazing initiatives and organizations that are represented here today.” 

Registration for the 2018 Easterseals Disability Film Challenge opens on December 1, 2017 and will take place the weekend of April 13-15, 2018. Participants have 55 hours to create a three-five minute film that has someone with a disability either in front of or behind the camera. So far more than 150 films have been created during this challenge.

“I think a lot of the change is going to come from us and together, us creating our own content,” he said in an interview on the red carpet. “I’m just honored they’ve given me this award for what we have done.”

Learn more at disabilityfilmchallenge.com.

Read the profile on Jamie Brewer awarding Nic Novicki with the award on our website: https://www.respectability.org/2017/11/18/jamie-brewer-actress-advocate-shines-media-access-awards-presenter/.

Meet the Author

Julia Wood
Julia Wood

Julia Wood is a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility and a senior at Emerson College. She is not stranger when it comes to advocating for people with disabilities. Growing up she advocated for her sister who had Mitochondrial Disease and Leukemia. Previously she volunteered for "Buddy Ball” and “Make-A-Wish.”

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