2:23am PT by Chris Gardner
Hillary Clinton Honors Elizabeth Banks, Name-Drops Patty Jenkins, 'Wonder Woman' in Video
Even Hillary Clinton is down to see Wonder Woman, and it just might have something to do with President Donald Trump.
That's what the 69-year-old politician revealed during a surprise video message presented at the Women in Film Los Angeles' Crystal + Lucy Awards on Tuesday night in Beverly Hills. Clinton taped the 95-second message to honor her friend Elizabeth Banks, Democratic activist and Clinton supporter, who was on hand to receive one of the evening's highest honors, the Crystal Award for Excellence in Film.
First, Clinton thanked WIF for its "commitment to lifting up women directors, producers, writers, composers and executives," and then she name-dropped the sword-toting powerhouse who is ruling the box office. "Now I haven't seen Wonder Woman yet, but I'm going to, in part because it's directed by the fabulous Patty Jenkins," gushed Clinton. "But something tells me that a movie about a strong, powerful woman fighting to save the world from a massive international disaster is right up my alley."
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Also in her zone? Banks. "She is such a special person, again, on screen and off. You're not only a creative force in front of the camera and behind it, you are a passionate advocate for women's equality and opportunity; I can vouch for that," says Clinton, who wasn't the only political superstar to appear in a taped segment at the Beverly Hilton-hosted event. Michelle Obama also turned up to say congratulations to Lucy Award honoree Tracee Ellis Ross, and California Sen. Kamala Harris sent her regards via video, too. "I'm so grateful for your support and friendship and your sense of humor. I can't think of a more fitting person to receive this distinguished award."
Clinton ended the message by introducing Universal Pictures' chair, Donna Langley, who had the honor of presenting her friend and colleague with the trophy. (Banks, a Universal-based producer, directed Pitch Perfect 2 for the studio; gross ited $287 million worldwide). Langley praised Banks as an "amazing ball of power," "the woman I aspire to be," "fearless," "the whole package," and someone who "really is the real deal." Then she, too, threw Wonder Woman into the mix.
"Wonder Woman, you have nothing on this lady," Langley noted of the film released by rival studio Warner Bros. "But I loved the movie. I did."
Banks seemed to love Clinton's message as well as Langley's words, and her appearance at the event marked a special return as the actress-turned-director received WIF's Max Mara Face of the Future award eight years ago. This year, that prize went to rising star Zoey Deutch. Other awards went to filmmaker Mira Nair (BMW Dorothy Arzner Directors Award), Dan Rather (Norma Zarky Humanitarian Award) and Sony Pictures Classics' Michael Barker and Tom Bernard (inaugural Beacon Award).
"Now I have not one but two awards from this amazing organization," Banks said during her acceptance speech. "I am a woman in film."
She's also a woman with a memory, which she used to recall an experience she had on a panel in New York City approximately seven years ago. It landed her alongside filmmakers Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers in a discussion moderated by Christine Vachon. During the Q&A portion, Banks recalled that a woman asked something about how to improve female representation onscreen. She noted the difficulties of getting her two sons interested in seeing a movie about or starring girls.
"I have been fueled in this industry a lot by anger and jealousy," Banks explained, relating her emotions back to that moment. "I was really angry at this woman and I didn't have the words or the voice in that moment to tell her how crazy it is. 'You're their mother. Buy a f—ing ticket to a movie and take them and give them the experience of seeing amazing women on film.' I didn't have that voice then, but I have it now."
She also has two sons of her own now, and she hopes that they get to see Jenkins' film. "They are too young to see Wonder Woman, but they're going to love it," Banks quipped. "I am so proud that I get to raise my two boys to love women. I get to present an example of them of a working mom who loves what she does. We are creating culture. We are sending messages out to the world and those messages matter. Co-opting men and boys into that process is the only way that progress is going to happen."