Hallmark Stars Honored With 2 Major Awards: ‘Awesome & Surreal’

Gracie Awards

Heavy/Getty The 48th Annual Gracie Awards at the Beverly Wilshire on May 23, 2023, in Beverly HIlls, California.

For the first time ever, Hallmark Media is a Gracie Award winner — two times over. Actress Gail O’Grady and the cast and crew of “Unthinkably Good Things” were thrilled to win two separate awards at the 48th Annual Gracie Awards in Beverly Hills, California, on May 23, 2023.

O’Grady, known for her many roles on TV series including “Criminal Minds,” won the award for Actress in a Supporting Role in a Made-for-TV Movie — for 2022’s “Heart of the Matter” — and the team behind Hallmark’s first movie under its Mahogany film franchise, “Unthinkably Good Things,” won the award for best Made for Television Movie.

The awards are named after Gracie Allen, a beloved actress and groundbreaking comedian in the 1940s and 50s who collaborated with her husband, fellow comic George Burns, on many TV ventures including “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.” According to a press release from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation (AWMF), the organization behind the Gracies, the awards “embody the spirit and courage exemplified by Gracie Allen, and they serve as a reminder of the invaluable contributions women make in shaping our media landscape.”

Hallmark’s Mahogany Team Celebrates ‘Making Magic’

Hallmark's Team Mahogany

Getty on behalf of The Alliance for Women in Media FoundationFrom L to R: Monique Nash, Terri J. Vaughn, Erica Ash, Toni Judkins, Lance Gross, Cas Sigers-Beedles, Jermaine Love, Karen Pittman, Korin D. Williams, and other guests attend the 48th Annual Gracie Awards in May 2023

The team behind “Unthinkably Good Things,” which premiered on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries in August 2022, were thrilled by the award, partly because it honored the first movie made under Hallmark’s new Mahogany film franchise, based on the decades-long Hallmark Cards line of the same name. Upon its launch in 2021, Hallmark Media announced that movies made under the Mahogany banner would offer “powerful storytelling that exemplifies Hallmark’s core ethos – family, community, human connection, positivity, and the transformational power of love – through the unique lens of Black culture.”

“Unthinkably Good Things” is about a trio of girlfriends — played by Karen Pittman, Joyful Drake, and Erica Ash — who travel to Tuscany, Italy, for a reunion and wind up taking a hard look at their lives and loves together.

Toni Judkins, Hallmark’s senior vice president of programming and development, posted an Instagram photo from the red carpet and wrote, “What a night! What an honor! Last night Team Mahogany the cast and crew of our inaugural film, Unthinkably Good Things, took home the Gracie award for Made for TV Movie. Pretty awesome and surreal. My continued gratitude for all involved in making ‘Unthinkably Good Things a success.'”

She tagged everyone involved and added, “I love making magic with you lot. Let’s do it again 😉❤️🙌🏾🏆”

Meanwhile, Pittman shared a photo on Instagram of the cast and crew celebrating on stage at the awards ceremony and wrote, “When the first ever @hallmarkmahogany movie wins a #gracieawards, the first EVER for the network! I can’t brag on this team enough. Woman centric, woman-led production recognized by women…You see all this Blackness up here?! It’s the epitome of excellence.”

“I’ll forever be proud of this incredible group of women and these supportive and dynamic men,” she continued. “Thank you @hallmark and #wonyalucas @iamtonijudkins for allowing me to be a part of your network with this inaugural effort. Long live @hallmarkmahogany ❤️ You haven’t seen #unthinkablygoodthings yet? Oh my God…”

Hallmark has released five movies under the Mahogany banner over the last year; the most recent was “Spring Breakthrough,” which premiered on April 30 on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Each movie is available to stream via Peacock.

Gail O’Grady Wins Gracie for ‘Heart of the Matter’

Gail O'Grady

Getty Gail O’Grady speaks onstage during the 48th Annual Gracie Awards on May 23, 2023

O’Grady also ended the night a big winner, honored for her role in “Heart of the Matter,” which premiered in May 2022 and starred Aimeé Teegarden and Chandler Massey.

In the movie, Teegarden plays a successful, young cardiologist named Andie who is shaken by the accidental death of one of her patients, played by Massey, who had an intellectual disability. O’Grady plays Henry’s angry mother, who only adds to Teegarden’s despair with a malpractice lawsuit and possible sanctions from the medical review board looming. A press release about the movie from Hallmark says that “as Andie and Gladys learn to overcome their sorrow through forgiveness, they learn that acceptance leads to hope.”

“It’s a different kind of movie for Hallmark,” she told KTLA in 2022. “I want to say it’s a deep movie, it’s a bit heavy.”

During a Facebook Live session with Teegarden before the movie’s premiere, O’Grady said the movie explored the complicated process of grief, especially for a mother who loses her son.

“I think whenever there is a tragedy in one’s life, I think a common reaction is to blame, regardless of whether the blame is misplaced,” she said, getting choked up as she thought about the movie. “The grief is so much and in order to function and get through a day, I think a lot of times people get angry and they blame. And I think after the blaming came a little more understanding for my character.”

“Heart of the Matter,” which originally aired on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, is also available to stream via Peacock.

Actress Lily D. Moore, who starred in Hallmark’s “Color My World With Love” in 2022, was also nominated for a Gracie in the category of Actress in a Leading Role ‐ Made for TV Movie or Limited Series. That award wound up going to Amanda Seyfried for Hulu’s “The Dropout.”

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