Actress Angela Lansbury is interviewed Sunday at the ninth National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. (Kasia Anderson)

Truthdig contributors John Patterson and Tim Riley took top prizes at Sunday evening’s National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards, an event sponsored by the Los Angeles Press Club. The ninth annual ceremony was held at a location rich in Hollywood history: downtown L.A.’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel, site of the early Academy Awards in the 1930s and ’40s.

Patterson won in the online celebrity feature category for his tribute to Orson Welles, “30 Years Gone, and Oh, How We Still Love Orson Welles,” marking the 30th anniversary of the film legend’s death and the centenary of his birth with an in-depth interview with Welles biographer F.X. Feeney.

Tim Riley’s book review of author Peter Guralnick’s “Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll,” became Truthdig’s third book review to win first place at a L.A. Press Club awards competition. “Like his masterful biographies of Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke,” Riley wrote, “Guralnick’s “’Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n’ Roll’ traces a charismatic figure through a cockeyed career.” Riley’s category, best online cultural critic, also featured nominees from The New York Times, the Daily Beast and Asian Journal Press.

Three other Truthdig writers — film critic Carrie Rickey, staff writer Emma Niles and Deputy Editor Kasia Anderson, were also nominated by NAEJ judges (click here for this year’s full lineup of nominees).

And although the focus of the evening was on entertainment journalism across all platforms, both songwriter Diane Warren, who was on hand to receive the NAEJ’s Visionary Award, and “Booze Traveler” host and awards presenter Jack Maxwell spoke from the stage about the value and challenges of the journalistic profession. “Never has journalism been more under attack,” Maxwell said. Warren picked up on the thread while accepting her award, telling the assembled members of the trade, “We need you more than ever … this world is so scary.”

The biggest draw of the night came in the form of an appearance by stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury, who was presented with the NAEJ’s Legend Award. “I managed to start off when I was so young — and here I am at 91 and I’m still going,” she said, drawing an enthusiastic response from the audience.

Another honoree, Netflix’s gleefully ribald late-night host Chelsea Handler, summed up her advice for making it in Hollywood in a manner that jibed with her on-screen persona: “Be loud and scream until you get your way,” she said. This time, she wasn’t kidding.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

Your support matters…

Independent journalism is under threat and overshadowed by heavily funded mainstream media.

You can help level the playing field. Become a member.

Your tax-deductible contribution keeps us digging beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that unearths what's really happening- without compromise.

Give today to support our courageous, independent journalists.