Jane Fonda, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Pascal Share Laughs, Inspirations at THR's Women in Entertainment Breakfast
Octavia Spencer, Chelsea Handler and Viola Davis also took part in the Sue Naegle coined "estrogen meets ambition" event that featured a special tribute to the late Laura Ziskin, and Sherry Lansing presenting her namesake award to Fonda.
The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast, which HBO’s Sue Naegle described as "estrogen meets ambition," was held Dec 7 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The annual breakfast, which Summit’s Nancy Kirkpatrick said is "the one event of the year that says, ‘You go girl,' "began at 8 am with a reception at the hotel’s Crystal Ballroom where Sony’s Amy Pascal said she feels what’s best about the affair is “it’s great for young women to see they can do anything in the business.”
The program kicked off with an intro from Chelsea Handler, who began by saying, “I have no idea why there are so many f***ing men here.” She was followed by THR editorial director Janice Min who said the bottom line on the WIE Power 100 issue is: “You want to be on it and we want you to be on it.”
Afterward, Lifetime’s Nancy Dubuc, who spoke about the need for women to mentor each other, drew applause when she said, “We know the most dangerous thing for the men at the top is for the women to be talking” and helping each other.
Kirsten Dunst then introduced Pascal who paid tribute to the late producer Laura Ziskin and began by saying, “I had no idea how much her death would affect me. There are big holes left in so many lives.”
Before a video clip played, she told a story of how, when Ziskin’s ashes were scattered from the Santa Monica pier, dolphins suddenly appeared and began splashing in the water. “I swear this happened,” said Pascal. “We were sure that somehow Laura was able to produce that too.”
The Help author Katheryn Stockett was joined by Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis to speak about THR’s mentoring program and how this helps young women “discover their own beautiful self-worth.”
The heavy-set Spencer got a laugh when she began by telling the photographers to “aim high. That’s where the money is” and joined with Davis in introducing who this year’s mentees will be.
THR publisher, senior vp Lynne Segall thanked the event’s sponsors and organizers before Sherry Lansing spoke regarding honoree Jane Fonda. The former Paramount head told a story of working with Fonda when she was a producer on The China Syndrome and being told by the studio execs that the film’s name must be changed, news that Lansing dutifully passed on to the actress.
“Are you a corporate tool?” was Fonda’s reaction. “Where are your instincts? Your values? Are just carrying their water?”
Lansing said this was her first experience with how “non-compromising” the actress could be.
Fonda then began her remarks by saying, “Did I really say corporate tool? No wonder people didn’t like me.”
She accepted the award, which is shaped like a small crystal block, and joked, “it’s made out of a chunk of the glass ceiling that Sherry broke.”
She also corrected Lansing who said Fonda was engaged to Richard Perry by saying she was “in love with” the record producer but there were no wedding plans. She got a laugh when she did a quick run through of the times she’s been married and then not.
Fonda then spoke on the subject of how until women hold decisive positions in the industry films won’t reflect “the fascinating complexity of women’s lives.”
She ended her remarks by saying, “In the spirit of Laura Ziskin, let’s keep moving forward.”
Women in Entertainment is presented by Lifetime. Other sponsors include Audi, BCBGMAXAZRIA Group, Gersh, Guggenheim Partners, Marina B, Scandia Down.