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Hollywood’s leading ladies were on hand Wednesday morning at Milk Studios to celebrate The Hollywood Reporter‘s Power 100 at the 25th annual THR Women in Entertainment breakfast, presented by Lifetime.
The VIP event coincides with the publication of THR’s annual Women in Entertainment: Power 100, the definitive guide to the leading women in film and television. Jennifer Lawrence, who graces THR’s cover with an interview by Oprah Winfrey, received the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which honors a woman who is a pioneer and a leader in her field.
Prior to the ceremony, guests like Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sterling K. Brown and Bryce Dallas Howard sipped coffee and green juice with this year’s Power List honorees, including Stacey Sher, Mara Brock Akil and Dawn Hudson. Conversation was dominated by the fires that surrounded the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Bel Air and the Valley, which kept several of the attendees — including Equity in Entertainment Award honoree Amy Pascal and presenters Meryl Streep and Selena Gomez — from the event.
The breakfast comes as the industry finds itself in the middle of a massive culture shift, with brave women coming forward to speak out against harassment, abuse and lack of gender parity in Hollywood. New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the duo responsible for the explosive exposé that began an avalanche of sexual assault and harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, were in attendance at the event. But many honorees used their speeches to focus on female power and collaboration, instead of dwelling on the sexual harassment revelations and subsequent firings that have taken over Hollywood’s headlines.
Sarah Silverman delivered the opening remarks, kicking off the breakfast by saying, “In this society, women are often set up to compete against each other. And it’s up to us to wholly reject that.” She added: “We have a responsibility as women to reject this toxic drug in the air that makes us feel like the success of one woman can only come at the failure of another.“
Closing out the ceremony, Sherry Lansing took to the stage to present Lawrence with her namesake award. Past recipients of the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award have included this year’s guest editor Rhimes and Lawrence’s interviewer Winfrey, as well as Diane Keaton, Streep, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster, Halle Berry, Glenn Close and Barbara Walters.
Lansing recalled the first time she met Lawrence at a dinner party at Lionsgate exec Michael Burns’ home prior to the release of the actress’ would-be blockbuster The Hunger Games. “I knew she was a very special person and that she would be more than fine,” she said. “Jennifer was unfiltered. She was authentic. And above all else, Jennifer was comfortable in her own skin. Since that first meeting, I have watched Jennifer’s career soar, and I have marveled at her talent.”
Concluded Lansing: “I know that Jennifer will continue to be a role model and an inspiration for women everywhere. Because of Jennifer, I believe that young people will view philanthropy and giving back as just a natural part of their lives.”
The star-studded breakfast concluded with honoree Lawrence taking the stage to accept the award from Lansing. “This last year been a challenging and trying time in our world, and our industry specifically. Every day, we wake up to a myriad of headlines that deeply impact us, from around the globe,” she said. Honoring Jolie, Gadot, Rhimes and other honorees and speakers seated in the room, the mother! actress thanked all of the women who paved the way in Hollywood and “stood up to adversity.”
“Let’s be outspoken, let’s be resilient, let’s all be silence breakers,” said Lawrence, urging them to create an industry “where outspoken women matter, where outspoken women lead.”
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