There was girl-on-girl making out, joking about synchronized menstrual cycles, and a whole lot of talk about shoes. The Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards held Tuesday night in Los Angeles was a rowdy affair.
With a theme of "Action!" the annual event where Hollywood gathers to celebrate the achievements of women in entertainment was a feminist rallying cry from start to finish, with awards presenters and winners including Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, Kristen Stewart, Kate Mara, "Transparent" creator Jill Soloway, "Selma" director Ava DuVernay and others taking the opportunity to share advice and inspire.
For the Record
June 19, 1:50 p.m.: An earlier version of this article misspelled Candice Bergen's first name as Candace, Stephenie Meyer's first name as Stephanie and Max Mara brand ambassador Nicola Maramotti's last name as Marimotti.
"It's a very good year for identifying as a woman," host Maria Bello deadpanned, warming up the crowd, and pointing out that the evening was about women who "without issuing policy statements have shown us the way."
"It's about turning this moment into momentum," said Cathy Schulman, president of Women In Film, while highlighting a few of the recent hit TV shows and films featuring strong female roles ("Mad Max: Fury Road") or directed by women ("Selma," "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"). A nonprofit founded in 1973, Women In Film is dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for women in the entertainment industry.
Kidman took home the evening's top honor, the Crystal Award. Dressed in an electric-looking sequin Nina Ricci ensemble, she spoke passionately about being a 5'-foot-11 teenage drama geek, too shy to take an acting role offered her at age 14 by the director Jane Campion because it would have required her to wear a shower cap on stage and kiss another woman.
"It's hard to take on the world when you are afraid of your own power," Kidman said, sharing that her battle with the voice inside that tells her she has to be acceptable goes on to this day. Then, righting a decades-old wrong, she put on a shower cap and kissed her pal Naomi Watts, smack on the lips. "Jane, if you're out there, I'm ready to don this cap and kiss any girl in the room!"
Taking the stage to present the Tiffany & Co. Bruce Paltrow Mentorship Award, Sandra Bullock joked, "There is so much power in this room right now that we're all going to be on the same menstrual cycle." The award went to Sue Kroll, President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures.
Kristen Stewart, dressed in an edgy Proenza Schouler look, made a surprise appearance with "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer to recognize six aspiring filmmakers who made short films inspired by the series. And Laura Linney introduced the Sue Mengers Award, which went to ICM talent agent Toni Howard, who represents Michael Keaton, Michael Caine and Candice Bergen among others. "I pity anyone who disrespects her clients," Linney said.
The evening was sponsored by BMW, Tiffany & Co. and Max Mara, presenting sponsor of the Max Mara Face of the Future Award, given this year to Kate Mara.
"Her last name is pure coincidence," said Max Mara brand ambassador Nicola Maramotti, listing Mara's achievements, including the upcoming film "Fantastic Four." "Next time you see her, you will be looking at America's superhero."
Phylicia Rashad presented the Dorothy Arzner Directors Award to Ava DuVernay ("Selma"), who shared with the crowd that the way she tries to overcome invisibility in Hollywood is through storytelling.
And Judith Light recognized writer/director Jill Soloway, who created the topical Amazon.com series "Transparent," about a transgender family patriarch (played by Jeffrey Tambor), long before Caitlyn Jenner came onto the scene.
"Women speaking the truth is a revolutionary act that will change the world," Soloway said.
But not before Light offered a toast from the award's namesake, Lucille Ball. "Somewhere in the world, Lucy is raising a glass of Vitameatavegamin in her honor."