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Hollywood’s leading ladies — and a few good men — took to the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday, Dec. 7 to honor The Hollywood Reporter’s annual Women in Entertainment power list, but all eyes were on Jane Fonda as she accepted the coveted Sherry Lansing Leadership Award.
Fonda tearfully took the stage after a touching introduction from Lansing herself, telling the audience, “I didn’t expect I would cry.” The legendary actress later acknowledged that while her Emmy and Oscar statues were collecting dust, she was thrilled to add a new piece of hardware to her collection.
“I’m really honored to accept this award, which I guess is made out of a chunk of the glass ceiling Sherry Lansing broke through,” she said.
On the red carpet, Fonda told THR which ladies in the business served as her personal inspiration over the years.
“Sherry Lansing is a role model,” she said. “I worked with her in the late 70s and I really admire her. I think Katharine Hepburn is the woman I learned the most from.”
Lansing echoed Fonda’s admiration on the carpet, saying that she was “intimidated” upon first meeting the actress. The duo first worked together on The China Syndrome, released in 1979.
“Jane Fonda was one of my biggest role models in life, which is why it’s so ironic and such a pleasure to be giving her this award,” Lansing told THR. “I really can’t believe it’s happening. She was someone I admired and someone who intimidated me, she doesn’t anymore, but someone I aspired to be. I admired her authenticity, I admired her honesty, I admired her courage, and I admired the fact that she wasn’t afraid to take a stand.”
As the latest recipient of the leadership award, Fonda joins the ranks of Meryl Streep, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters. Last year, Dame Helen Mirren took home the award.
So what do all these females have in common?
“Intelligence, compassion, strategy, kindness [and] knowing a good story,” Fonda said of the qualities necessary to be a female power leader.
Watch Fonda’s full acceptance speech below.
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