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As the first female filmmaker to receive the Will Rogers Pioneer of the Year award, Elizabeth Banks used a word she’s sure her male predecessors have never said in their acceptance speeches: tampons.
“I can only assume this is the fear of every man in the room, that if you give a woman a microphone, it’s all tampon talk all the time,” Bank joked at the annual Will Rogers Pioneer of the Year dinner Wednesday night — the first time the awards were held in Los Angeles.
“The best part of this speech is that when you go home, in the car later tonight or tomorrow, when you’re at work, and you have to tell this story of tonight, you now also have to say, ‘tampons.'”
And while the joke did fill the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom with laughter, Banks hoped it would also serve a more meaningful purpose.
“And in telling this story tonight and repeating that word — tampons — you’re gonna help me erode the stigma and taboo that still surrounds a basic necessity of modern life for half the world’s population,” she said.
The Pitch Perfect 2 director wasn’t the only one cracking jokes. Hosted by Busy Philipps, the celebratory evening was in no shortage of laughter.
The new Charlie’s Angels trio — Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, and Ella Balinska — also garnered some chuckles from the audience with their banter before bestowing words of praise upon their friend and colleague.
The women presented the award to Banks, who wrote, directed, produced and stars in the upcoming reboot — marking her as the first woman to tell the Charlie’s Angels story in the history of the film and TV series.
“It is my absolute pleasure to introduce Elizabeth Banks for this well-deserved honor. Liz is a walking catalyst,” Stewart said on stage with her co-stars. “She makes shit happen. She makes very good things happen, because the source of her desire, her unstoppable drive, her impulse, is good.”
Banks made sure to share the love as she took the stage, telling the audience: “Kristen Stewart is a fucking legend. She’s literally the coolest person that any of you have ever seen, and she said those things about me. I can’t believe it.”
Banks is the first woman director to receive the Pioneer of the Year award, and only the fifth woman overall to receive the honor, which recognizes a respected member of the motion picture community for their leadership, service and commitment to philanthropy.
Banks joins the ranks of Kathleen Kennedy, Sherry Lansing and Donna Langley.
For the first time in eight years, the annual Pioneer of the Year dinner was held in Los Angeles after a stint in Las Vegas linked to CinemaCon. The dinner raises money for the Pioneers Assistance Fund, which helps members of the film and exhibition industries who have faced illness and injury.
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