Cicely Tyson, Maggie Gyllenhaal Among Honorees at Gracie Awards

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Maggie Gyllenhaal

The 40th annual ceremony shines the spotlight on women in film, radio and television.

The 40th annual Gracie Awards were held on Tuesday night at The Beverly Hilton. The red carpet featured a mix of female journalists, radio hosts, musicians, movie stars and television personalities.

“When you’re starting out in an industry, you rely on other women who have been there and done that to guide you,” said Full House and 90210 actress Lori Loughlin.

Army Wives star Catherine Bell told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think that honoring women encourages women to do more, to be more and to keep continuing to do more. There are stereotypes that are still around, whether it’s for an actor, a director, producers, but I think it’s definitely changing, and I think it’s better than it’s ever been.”

Today’s Erica Hill and Hoda Kotb spoke about what makes a woman powerful. “I think the sexiest, the most attractive, most powerful woman is a confident woman,” Hill told THR. “I think that’s really what matters, and you can’t dress that up or down, that’s just who you are.”

“I totally agree,” added Kotb. “Most of the women in charge at NBC, they dress the part.”

“I think it’s interesting to think about how much femininity and sexuality play into the power of being a woman, or does it take away from it?” said Maggie Gyllenhaal, who received a Gracie award for her performance on SundanceTV’s The Honourable Woman. “In my opinion, it’s probably a little of both.”

The ceremony was hosted by Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross and featured such presenters as Maria Menounos, The ExesKristen Johnston and Ewan McGregor and a solo piano performance by former 4 Non Blondes’ frontwoman Linda Perry.

Tony- and Emmy-winning actress Cicely Tyson was honored with a lifetime achievement award and a standing ovation by a full auditorium. “The day I feel that I have made it is the day I stop living,” the 81-year old actress told the crowded room, lifting her award above her head.

The awards ceremony, named after radio and television star Gracie Allen, was presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation and honored media programming produced by, for and about women.

The Gracies will hold a separate awards luncheon on June 22 in New York.