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The Hollywood Reporter gathered some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry Wednesday morning at the Beverly Hills Hotel for the 22nd annual Women in Entertainment breakfast to honor the Power 100 and present Oprah Winfrey with a leadership award named for former Paramount and 20th Century Fox exec Sherry Lansing.
Lansing took the stage at the packed event, sponsored by Lifetime, Gucci, Samsung Galaxy, Audi, Roberto Coin, Guggenheim, City National Bank, the Gersh Agency, Loyola Marymount University and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, to speak about Winfrey, whom she called one of her personal idols.
“You conduct your life in a way that has inspired all of us,” she said.
Winfrey’s longtime friend Maria Shriver took the stage for a funny and touching introduction, including a poem she had written titled “Becoming,” before bringing her friend to the stage.
“That beats a eulogy, I gotta tell you,” confessed Winfrey, dabbing at her eyes while getting a hearty laugh from the crowd. “You’re still alive to hear it!”
Winfrey’s words visibly moved a crowd that included A+E president and CEO Nancy Dubuc, A+E chairman Abbe Raven, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal, DreamWorks Studios CEO Stacey Snider, NBC’s Jennifer Salke, Universal Television’s Bela Bajaria, DreamWorks‘ Jeffrey Katzenberg, WME’s Ari Emanuel and The Butler director Lee Daniels. Past Sherry Lansing Leadership Award recipient Jane Fonda also attended the event, along with Girls’ Allison Williams, Mandy Moore, Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Scandal’s Darby Stanchfield, model-actress Molly Sims, actress Judy Greer, Glee’s Naya Rivera, Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and her fiance, Kanye West.
After welcoming speeches from The Hollywood Reporter editorial director Janice Min and senior vp and publisher Lynne Segall, Lansing introduced a moving video highlighting THR’s Hollywood Mentorship program, produced in cooperation with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles. The program pairs some of the industry’s leading women with underprivileged high school students, all of whom will also receive $10,000 scholarships to the colleges of their choice. As a special surprise this year, presenter Demi Lovato revealed that two of the mentees were each awarded four-year, full-ride scholarships to Loyola Marymount University — each with a value of $200,000.
“My favorite definition of power is ‘strength over time,’ ” Winfrey told the crowd, saying that Lansing had carved out a phenomenal career in a male-dominated industry and comparing that to her own struggles to make the OWN network successful. The honor, she confessed, “brought great reflections” for her.
Winfrey’s inspirational speech ended with strong words encouraging everyone to use their own power for good works.
“How do you use your power to elevate the life of somebody else?” she said.
While guests enjoyed spinach and feta frittatas, roasted potatoes and fruit salad, Jimmy Kimmel greeted the crowd, describing it as a “sea of perfect blowouts,” and, in a reference to West’s stage-crashing MTV Video Music Awards moment with Taylor Swift, warned the rapper and fashion impresario: “Don’t even try to take Oprah’s award away.”
“It’s a recognition of how women have contributed to the industry — and not in a small way,” Raven told THR of the event. “Women are running some of the major organizations in this business and are doing it well.”
Added actress Ahna O’Reilly: “I’m excited any time we get to be around and celebrate strong and intelligent women and especially in this business. And, of course, Oprah!”
The event follows the publication of THR‘s Women in Entertainment special issue, which ranks the 100 most powerful women in entertainment. Past recipients of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award have included Fonda, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters.
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